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Het Nieuwe Instituut and the Creative Industries Fund NL announce the six design teams selected from their open call for the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. The open calls aim to promote knowledge and contribute to the development of research in the fields of architecture and urbanism. La Biennale takes place from 22 May to 21 November 2021.

The Dutch Pavilion
Who is we?

The Netherlands' official contribution to La Biennale is commissioned by Het Nieuwe Instituut and surrounds the theme 'multispecies urbanism'. In response to chief curator Hashim Sarkis' question, 'How will we live together?', Het Nieuwe Instituut asks in return, 'Who is We?' Architect/researcher Afaina de Jong and artist/researcher Debra Solomon explore a new urbanism where the starting point of design is the multiplicity and influence of both humans and non-humans, from animals and plants, to soil life and artificial cognitive systems.

In October 2019, Het Nieuwe Instituut and the Creative Industries Fund NL launched an open call for contributions to the public parallel programme of the Dutch pavilion that responded to the theme multispecies urbanism. This programme takes place before, during, and after La Biennale, both in Venice and elsewhere.

Selection for the public parallel programme of the Dutch Pavilion 2020

  • Failed Architecture with Stories on Earth
    Stories on Earth is an attempt to introduce storytelling and design into the development of a critical model to challenge the current narrative regarding the relation between man and nature.
  • Bureau LADA with Fisheye
    Fisheye: Return of the Eel 
    is a speculative research project into water biodiversity as a model for a 'water-related society' in which humans play a secondary role.
  • Studio Wild with The Forbidden Garden of Europe
    The Forbidden Garden of Europe
    examines to what extent spatial and social factors influence inclusive ways of living together.

Main locations of La Biennale Architettura
How will we live together?

In addition to the joint call, the Creative Industries Fund NL issued an open call for projects at the main locations of La Biennale, responding to the theme 'How will we live together?' Within this theme, Sarkis focuses on the five major social themes of today - 'individuals', 'new households', 'emerging communities', 'across borders', and 'one planet'. He invited six groups with Dutch backgrounds to apply to exhibit in one of the main locations, of which three design teams have been selected.

Selection development budget main locations

  • Studio L A with City of Ceramics
    City of Ceramics 
    is an installation consisting of a map of Venice on a floor of fragile terrazzo tiles. With each step, cracks appear until, at the end of the Biennale, the map is smashed to pieces, allowing visitors to reflect on their own presence in the city.
  • Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory (FAST) with Watermelons, Sardines, Crabs, Sands, and other Sediments. Border Ecologies and the Gaza Strip
    This project examines the ecological problems in the Gaza Strip. In an installation consisting of a long dinner table with various objects, the results of the relationship between ecology, culture and politics in Gaza are presented.
  • Alessandra Covini and Giovanni Bellotti with Variations on a Birdcage
    Variations on a Birdcage is an investigation into objects that provide a direct encounter between humans and animals. This results in a playful installation that both people and birds can influence by playing, transforming, cultivating and feeding.

The selection committee consisted of André de Baerdemaeker (ecologist Bureau Stadsnatuur and Natural History Museum Rotterdam), prof. dr. Caroline Nevejan (chief science officer for the city of Amsterdam) and Marieke Berkers (architecture historian and member External Advisory Committee Landscape Architecture & Planning (WUR)).


Het Nieuwe Instituut and the Creative Industries Fund NL join forces to make optimal use of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia as an international platform for current spatial and social issues, acting as a catalyst for an ongoing discussion on the significance of architecture for our way of living together. The aim is to represent a wide range of voices from the Dutch design field in Venice.

Note to editors

Creative Industries Fund NL

The Creative Industries Fund NL is a cultural fund for architecture, design, digital culture, and all possible crossovers. The Fund supports designers, makers, and institutions with subsidies for the execution of special projects in the Netherlands and abroad. All contributions are aimed at enriching the creative sector and connecting culture and space with the economy and society. For more information contact Anneloes van der Leun at or call +31 10 436 1600.

Het Nieuwe Instituut

Het Nieuwe Instituut increases the public appreciation and social significance of architecture, design, digital culture, and practices that transcend these disciplines. The Institute researches, presents, and represents the design field with an extensive programme of exhibitions, lectures, debates, workshops, research projects, and educational activities. For more information contact Christiane Bosman at or Eveline Mulckhuyse at or call +31 62 667 1215.