Italian art collective A12 created a sunken garden in the lagoon. Consisting of a mirrored box with a tree in the middle of it, the idea was to create an oasis of calm in which to ponder nature. We caught up with them at the site.
What was your main concept?
To create a place that is isolated from the outside. On the exterior there are mirrors that reflect the movement of the sea and the waves, so at the same that the box becomes one with its surroundings, it also disappears. When you enter it is a totally different atmosphere. Whatever is happening outside, here it is calm, and there are also steps whereby you can get close to the water.
What was your inspiration? What were the thoughts behind this design?
It is a sort of homage to Venice. On the one hand, in Venice you get a lot of these closed, secret gardens, on the other it is a very unnatural place.
What are these construction techniques?

We wanted to use local traditional techniques as much as we could, so it is all wood. And the posts are the same style as those which have been used in Venice for years.
What was the purpose of the space?
It’s a place for reflection. We also wanted to conjure an erotic feeling, which the water always creates - that is why we have the steps that go down in the water, so the visitor can touch it.
How long is it going to stay here for?
For three months. It’s a satellite event and is one of a series of site-specific public art installations, curated by Francesco Bonami. Enel, Italy’s largest power company, funded the project.
Is this the first time you have come to the Biennale?
No. We are a group of six architects who always work together and we came with the Italian Pavilion to the Art Biennale in 2003.
Since you have done both - do you prefer to be an official part of the Biennale, or to create your own event?

It doesn’t matter to us. It is always interesting to work in Venice. We like it, we have worked here before and it’s a magical city. There is a relationship to the Biennale, and of course many people will see our work. We are happy to be here!