Room with white walls, multi coloured speckled floor and scattered black chairs, square opening to the room and three people walking towards the opening
(Image credit: TBC)

We caught up with Moritz Küng inside the Belgian Pavilion.

Wallpaper* Can you explain the design and concept of the pavilion?

Moritz Küng: I wanted to show that architecture can be exhibited without using the usual drawings, models or computer animations’, and Kersten Geers and David Van Severen’s proposal was for me the most lucid and confrontational response to the brief. The project is a tribute to the historical pavilion which was built in 1907 and puts it on show in its purest form as a monument, accessible from all sides, empty and stripped of everything.

Between the building and the added facades, the existing rooms and the new patio, there is an interaction between and inversion of the interior and exterior spaces. This impression is enhanced by the confetti and the randomly positioned chairs scattered around the site. The monumental enclosure raises not only topical political, social and ecological issues, but also evokes a sentimental sense of a party that is over: the celebration of the centenary of the Belgian pavilion in 2007, which never actually took place.

W* What message were you aiming to spread?

MK: That architecture can only be experienced physically.

W* Much of this year’s biennale seemed to be about the collaboration of architecture and art. Do you see this in the Belgian pavilion?

MK: I have worked within the field of art and architecture for decades. Thomas Demand’s Terrasse picture which is in the pavilion was originally used by the architects only as a reference for the ‘after the party’ atmosphere they wanted to create. On my suggestion the image was added as exhibit. Later on in the process, Hedi Slimane was asked to contribute his ‘confetti’ image.

W* What were your Biennale highlights?

MK: The Japanese pavilion’s fragile and ephemeral installation by Junya Ishigami and the botanist Hideaki Ohba, the visions of PAUHOF architects in the Austrian pavilion, and the pragmatic preciseness of the architect Tony Fretton in the British pavilion. But my real highlight was a film in the Italian pavilion: ‘Koolhaas Houselife’ by the young artists Ila Bêka & Louise Lemoine, showing the daily struggle with an architecture icon from a cleaner’s point of view.

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).