Competition Open Call:
A Bench in Venice
Open call now closed.
Winners have been selected.
See full list of submissions below.
To download this Open Call document in Arabic, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Spanish, click here.
Berth-A bench in Venice, The University of Sydney, Shiqi Zhang & Jason Hui
Surrounded, The University of Melbourne, Chang Tong, Feng Yang & Ziyuan Cui
Ribbon, Placemaker, The University of Sydney & University of New South Wales, Delos He & Penny Pan
Acqua Alta, The University of Sydney, Alessandro Pinzin & Mungo McGregor
Refuge, The University of Sydney, Kenta Aruga
Growing, Not Growing, University of New South Wales & The University of Sydney, Yuxi Pan & Dilong He
This Bench Mutates, University of Technology Sydney, Yousef Ghazal
Invitation to All , The University of Sydney, Diyaa Alyaska Rajbhandari
The Suggestion of a Moment, The University of Sydney, Thomas Li & Angela Xu
Bench As Sanctum, TU Graz, Komod Graz
Binature, TU Wien, Filip Marcetic
A Bench In Venice, Khulna University of Engineering & Technology, Ashraf-Uz-Zaman
Float On!, Military Institute of Science and Technology, Maisha Samiha Oishi
On the bench their soul await, KU Leuven Sint-Lucas, Cassandra Van Peer & Pieter-Jan Lerno
Untitled , International University of Sarajevo, Abdulrahman Alasmari
Infinite Bench, Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie, Caio, Ishigami Vaz, Eduardo, Castilho Chierighini Ivo, Lage Lamas Raquel & Tsuzuki Morita
Stepped bench, Laval University and University of Toronto, Francis Gaignard & Luis Alejandro Rojas-Perez
Bench Design, University of Toronto, Steven Yuchuan Chen & Vanessa Yaohan Wang
Give and Take, McGill University, Gabriela Alicia Sanchez Sosa & Myriam Rostom
The Space Between Six Circles, University of Waterloo & Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio, Sigi Buzi & Jinsu Park
Anchor + Bench, McGill University, Yue Zeng & Paddy Mittag-McNaught
The Bench of Warmth, McGill University, Ajwad Kabir
Una Banca Pública, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez & Pontificia Universidad Católica, Bruno Marsino & Renzo Marsino
The bench of the world, Universidad Tecnologica Metropolitana, Alexis Olivares & Gonzalo Mazzey
Block? Break!, Central South University South China University of Technology, Wu Xiaolong Zhou Chen
A Bench In Venice, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Li Hongrun
Fontego Bench, Tsinghua University, Alizée Berteloot
Bench Bollard Anchor, University of Nicosia, Huangliu Jiufu
Changing Point, University of Nicosia, Huangliu Jiufu
Find the Balance, Czech Technical University in Prague, Daniil Solovev
Fundamental, Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Saint-Étienne (ENSASE), Ismail Touirssa
about gathering across cultures, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Christian Brönner
Isola Urbana, Technische Universität München, Ivan Selednikov
The Bench of Hope, The University of Hong Kong, Jie Zhang
Harmony, Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong, Chan Sze Man
Fluido Panca, School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal, Arshiya Srishti, Raju Venkata Chandana & Srishti Sarkar
Re-St-airs, IPS Academy School of Architecture - Indore, Shubham Patidar, Somitra Sharma & Suraj Yadav
A Bench in Venice, JD Institute of Fashion Technology, Gwalior, Poonam Diwakar
Untitled , Biju Patnaik University of Technology, Modam Khazra Shahid
New Abandoned Mooring Bollards, Om Dayal Group of Institutions, Howrah, Debaditya Maity
Plug and Play, PVP College of Architecture, Pune, Niraj Navalakha & Sanidhya Shah
To Build or not to build, PVP College of Architecture, Pune, Sanidhya Shah
Bench, The University of Mumbai, Sandesh Dilip Walunj
Bench as a portal to a different place, The University of Mumbai, L.S. Raheja School of Architecture, Kalyani Dehankar
The Hoard, Sri Manakula Vinayagar School of Architecture, Mahesh Dhanasekaran
Pro Tempora, Rizvi College of Architecture, Mumbai University, Apurva Gupta & Nilima Tiwari
The Tie-in , Rizvi College of Architecture, Mumbai University, Apurva Gupta & Nilima Tiwari
La panca, The University of Mumbai, Maithili Naik
TOCE, School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal, Alemchila Tzudir
The Bench, Christ (Deemed to be university), Bengaluru, Rachel Joseph
The Future of our Past, PVP College of Architecture, Pune, Sanidhya Shah
Hide in Plain Sight, PVP College of Architecture, Pune, Niraj Navalakha
Dual Duo, Jagannath University, Haryana, Aman Singh Negi, Irshad Ahmed & Ishika Mitta
The Wave Bench, Sebelas Maret University, Ilham Riski Hasibuan & Yudi Putri Maulidina
Living in a Green Screen, Parahyangan Catholic University, Patrick Padua Tjandra & Sarah Adeline Matitawaer
A Bench In Venice, Islamic Azad University, Anita Hamedi
bench in transformation, Shariati Technical and Vocational College, Shaghayegh Mahmudi
Untitled, Imam Khomeini International University, Narges Shahmoradi
Polymorph, Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio, Jinsu Park
verdi&sera, Università Iuav di Venezia, Matteo Fontana & Mattia Mattiuzzi
People, Plants & Plates, Politecnico di Milano, Babar Khan, Salman Sadeghi & Zain Kossous
Boundary Bench, Shinshu University, Zeniya Shu
Material carpet, Meiji University, Yuhi Ohyanagi
Tied up Bench, Meiji University, Eiki Mizukoshi
Reversible Bench, Meiji University, Makoto Isono
With your neighbors, Meiji University, Tsukamoto Takafumi
Old But New Wood - Stool & Bench, Meiji University, Makoto Isono
Elastic Chair, The University of Jordan, Dana Ibrahim
Division to Interaction, Korea University, Eunjin Jeon, Yunjeong Choi & Seohyeon Park
Centipede, Seoul National University, Shinwoo Park & Donghyun Cho
Wave Ground, Unknown, Darin
To tell the story of Venice, Unknown, Soon-Min Park
FAM Fence And Module, Unknown, Byung-Hyun Cho
Mask Hammock & Mask Bench, Unknown, Seoyeon Park
Hybrid Bench , Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts, Christopher Malouf
Tellura Bench, Lebanese American University, Chafic Mekawi & Reem Obeid
[MOD]ULAR, National University of Malaysia, Najiah Azli
V E N I C E ´ S B E N C H, Facultad de Arquitectura, UNAM, Carreón Zayas Ivan & Reyes Granados Johanna Carolina
BENCH (?), Facultad de Arquitectura, UNAM, Roberto González Calderón, Emilio Padilla, Braulio Ángeles Marín, & Eduardo López Camarillo
Clay Life, Universidad Ricardo Palma, Edson Schneider Crespo Saenz
TO / GATHER, Wrocław University of Technology, Jakub Nowak & Szymon Pawelczuk
Bench, Silesian University of Technology, Aleksandra Kopeć
Poland & Argentina
52° bench, University of Arts in Poznań & Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Dominika Ufnal & Nicolas Boscoboinik
Untitled , Faculdade de Arquitectura da Universidade do Porto (Faup), Maria João Marques & Pedro Rodrigues
Bench as a space in the middle of the past, University of Architecture and Urbanism Ion Mincu, Aparaschivei Bianca
Banco del Mondo, National University of Singapore, Chan Hao Ong
Parliamo, National University of Singapore, Tan Jin Kang
Untitled, Univerza v Ljubljani, Valentina Fojkar
Untitled , Universidad Politecnica de Cartagena, Peter Clarke
Veniceat - A Bench for the City of Canals, University of Moratuwa, Izzathul Azna Ramanayake
Goza, ETH Zürich, Linda Bühler
Organic Library, ETH Zürich, Cynthia Baumann, Ansgar Kellner
topographic encounters , ETH Zürich, Erich Schäli, Antonio Brito Correia & Linda Lynn Bühler
The common brick bench, ETH Zürich , Natalie Klak & Salome Schepers
TreeBench, Abdullah Gul University, Mustafa Ehven
fle[x]it, MEF University, Eda Kesim, Doğa Akok, Fatma Nur Şahin, Pelinsu Çelik, Bersu Özkara, Dilara Alpman & Aleyna Akçay
Untitled, Lviv Polytechnic National University, Olha Rybenchuk
United Arab Emirates
Sumbion, Amity University Dubai, Smruthik Mukesh
Venetian Gondola, American University of Sharjah, Muhammad Faruqi
1-Simplicity bring us together / 2-Instability is beautiful, University of Sharjah, Aisha Al Saleh Altunaiji
Intangible, American University of Sharjah, Janet Jacob
Parametric Nature Inspired Bench, University of Sharjah, Hayder Al-Beer
Afloat, Amity University Dubai , Ashley Almeida
The organic block, American University of Sharjah, Amal Saleh
Wrecking Ball bench, Central Saint Martins, UAL, Lucas Ursprung
The Dialogue Bench, University of Westminster, Alcina Lo
Sportscape Urbanism, Architectural Association, Andrew Robertson
Bench with Grey Felt, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, Kumphakarn Sasiprapakul & Han-Tse Lee
Prototype A, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, Gabriella Bandeira
A Bench In Venice, University of the Arts London, Ali Wagner
chronotopeBench, Cambridge University, Amir Soltani
NOT-A-BENCH, Manchester Metropolitan University & University of Strathclyde, Sam Chi & Gertie Li
Urban Growing Forest, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, Shaokang Li
A B-E-N-C-H in Venice, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, Alexander Venditti & Biying Wang
UK & China
Interlego, Architectural Association & ICD, Peiyao Yu & Maria Razzhivina
The Cross Stagger, Pratt Institute, Yu Jie
Nomad Landscapes, Southern California Institute of Architecture & National University of Singapore , Carnation Kng & Jo-Ann Low
Sahara, Pratt Institute &TU Wien, Ekam Singh & Kingshuk Dutta
*Let's Bench, University of California, Douglas Min Yi Lee
The fluctuation of the human life, New York School of Interior Design, Kyriaki (Korina) Athanasiadou
we-are-in-this-together, Rice University, Yifei Zhang
Corner Stage, Princeton University, Will Fu
Untitled, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University , Seungmin Han
Shifting Perspectives Bench, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University , Rose Zhang
An International Lock Bench, Pratt Institute, Tianqing S & Sara Su
Mediator, Pratt Institute, Jacqueline Chou & William Lin
seasaw, Georgia Tech, Sean Li & Jamie Li
The Helix, New York School of Interior Design, Shruti Kashikar
To Sit With You, University of Southern California, Tori Smolinski
Pack Bench, MIT, Thaddeus Lee & Zhifei Xu
The Threshold, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University , Bisher Tabbaa
Sit With Me, City Lab / Living City Project (NYC), Dashiell Beber-Turkel, Jacob Brandt, Xavier Czarnecki, River Steinbach & Neene Beber
The Writhling Bench, Pratt Institute, Ishika Aggarwal
United States & Canada
Room for Conversation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University & University of Toronto, Randa Malkawi, Luke Rumage & Farah Michel
Bout Chair, Unknown, Shiyao
Untitled, Unknown, Başak Karabulu
The National Pavilion United Arab Emirates at La Biennale di Venezia , led by co-curator Wael Al Awar in collaboration with the Curator’s Collective, launches an international open call for Design students to propose a bench design for installation in Venice during the summer of 2021.
In the UAE, traditional benches of teakwood occupy areas of shade cast by the old souk walls, providing respite from the sun.
Image source: Unknown
For the first time in the Biennale Architettura de Venezia’s 40-year history, national pavilion curators around the globe are working together to investigate new avenues for fulfilling the Biennale’s potential as a platform for synergistic, expansive, and accessible collaboration. Known as the Curators’ Collective (CC), over 50 participating national pavilions have joined in the ongoing dialog alongside the Biennale’s chief curator, Hashim Sarkis.
In the Dominican Republic, the Malecón bench reconnects citizens back to their sea by re-directing their gaze towards it. Designed by Manuel Valverde Podestá in the 1970’s.
Image source: Jose Manuel Azcona
In this collaborative spirit, the CC contemplates one of the oldest and most basic units of social exchange, the bench. This open call puts forth the idea that the bench can be a key activator of Common Space, enabling observation, reflection and, therefore, dialog. As the world continues to grapple with today’s twin urgencies of the pandemic and accelerating climate change, the need for dialog is greater than ever.
In Albania, lightweight two-seater benches by 51N4E. enable sitters to organize themselves around Skanderbeg Square as they please.
Image source: Blerta Kambo
How can the design of a bench both spark and frame this dialogue?
The open call invites design students from around the world to enter.
In Italy, benches grow out of building facades in a civic gesture that integrates public seating directly into the urban fabric, as in the Palazzo Rucellai in Florence by LeonBattista Alberti.
Image source: Francesca Santeusanio
The bench design must communicate an idea about gathering, contemplation and conversation across cultures, while exploring the connection between human and environmental awareness.
The idea of a bench can inspire multiple and pluralistic interpretations—
Bench as connecting in the present
Bench as portal to a different place
Bench as coveted during the pandemic
Bench as avoided during the pandemic
Bench as a cultural symbol
Bench as solving a practical need
Bench as an individual
Bench as part of a collective
Bench as fixed
Bench as wandering
Value will be placed on entries that showcase the upcycling process. The bench must be able to function during both pandemic and non-pandemic times, be safe and durable for public use without need for maintenance during a three-month period.
In Korea, the pyeongsang’s sturdy wooden construction and generous dimensions serve as a communal sitting area, especially in the summer as it is cool, clean and elevated from the ground. It is a space where people share food and company, and even sleep.
It is a place of intersection where people can intentionally interact with their neighbors.
Image source: news.bucheon.go.kr
The winning benches will be fabricated and installed in Venice, Italy. All entries will be showcased on the CC website.
Entrants are invited to submit their proposals by July 12th, 2021 at 7pm CEST for installation in August.
Leftover pavilion construction materials to be upcycled into the bench design are provided. The list of materials, as well as their specifications, can be downloaded from the OpenCall Materials link.
Additional material may be used with justification.
In the Philippines, a tambayan is a place to socialize and hang out. Shown here is a roofed bench version, with angled walls that anchor against strong winds while doubling as a back rest.
Image source: Alexander Furunes
Bench Design Evaluation Criteria
Submissions will be judged on the following:
1) Originality and demonstration of creativity.
2) Relevance to the brief.
3) Feasibility of construction.
4) Embodiment and expression of how the design up-cycles pavilion construction leftover materials.
In Pakistan the Charpai is a hand-crafted object composed of natural materials, combining frame and weave, activating a spectrum of daily activities including play, conversation, and rest.
Image source: Faizan Ahmad
The competition, supported by the National Pavilion United Arab Emirates La Biennale di Venezia, will be moderated by Architect and Educator, Dalia Hamati.
The jurors consist of the following National Pavilion curators at Biennale Architettura de Venezia, 2021:
Alexander Furunes & Sudarshan V. Khadka Jr., Co-curators, Philippine National Pavilion
David Theodore, Co-curator, Canadian National Pavilion
Fiona Mali, Co-curator, Albanian National Pavilion
Hae-Won Shin, Curator, Korean National Pavilion
Günther Vogt & Violeta Burckhardt, VOGT Landscape Architects.
Madeleine Kessler, Co-curator, British National Pavilion
Roberta Semeraro, Curator, Dominican Republic National Pavilion
Sara Anwar, Curator, Pakistan National Pavilion
Toshikatsu Kiuchi, Exhibition Architect, Japanese National Pavilion
In Scotland, a public bench inserts itself into a private garden wall blurring the boundary between public and private.
Image source: Madeleine Kessler
Competition brief in multiple languages and materials list, can be downloaded from the CC open call materials link, →→→ here.
The submission should include the following:
1.The completed registration form submitted online, found on the CC website →→→ here, to receive unique competition entry ID.
2. A single A3 format PDF bench design proposal, including:
- A 200 word design statement; why are you creating this, what’s the inspiration behind it and how does your proposal answer the brief?
- 3D Imagery of the design proposal.
- Plan, elevation and section drawings of the design proposal, drawn at 1:20 scale with key dimensions noted.
- Fabrication process diagram with all materials used.
- The registration ID on the lower right corner.
- File should be in PDF format, 5MB or less.
- Label file as CC2021_OpenCall_IDnumber.pdf
3. A social media-friendly image of the design entry at 72dpi, in a square-crop jpeg format, submitted here (CC2021_OpenCall_IDnumber.jpg).
Both submission materials should be uploaded to the (anonymous) CC website submission link. →→→ here
*Any form of self-identification on PDF/JPG will result in disqualification.
* Copyright will be retained by the entrant.
For any questions regarding your submission please email us.
Open Call Schedule
June 16th, 2021: Submissions Open
July 12th, 2021: Submissions Close, at 7pm CEST
July 26th, 2021: Winners Notified
August, 2021: Benches Installed
November, 2021: Benches Deinstalled
In Japan, The Engawa is a raised floor surface of a traditional Japanese house that faces outwards, doubling as a bench inviting passersby to rest at its periphery.
Image source: Kozo Kadowaki
Full Curators Collective Participation List
Albania, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Germany, Great Britain, Grenada, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Iraq, Japan, Korea, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Montenegro, Netherlands, Nordic Countries, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia , Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, Uruguay and Uzbekistan
1. Is there a minimum or maximum number of people that can enter a team? No.
2. Can we submit more than one A3 sheet? No.
3. Does the A3 PDF submission format need to be portrait or landscape? TBD by applicant
4. Does the 3D imagery of the design proposal need to be computer generated? No, it can be hand-drawn, physically modeled or computer generated.
5. How much of the existing material should we use? This is up to the applicant.
6. Where in Venice will the benches be installed? Potential sites are currently being considered by the CC in conversation with various entities.
7. Should the bench be attached to the ground? No. The bench should be designed to be free-standing without the need for ground fixings.
8. Will I get to go to Venice? Travel to Venice will be at the travelers own expense.
9. Are there more accurate dimensions of the available materials? The competition entry can be schematic. Precise dimensions will be sourced for the selected winning entries.
More FAQ can be found here.
Special thanks to Madeeha Merchant & Chris Ro for the competition coordination, platform development and design.