Still life: Michael Anastassiades’ meditative exhibition design for the Cyprus pavilion

Art galley with big abstract painting on the walls and a pillar in the middle of the image. On the left is a grey carved stone bench.
London-based designer Michael Anastassiades has designed the exhibition space for the Cyprus pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale
(Image credit: TBC)

From Michael Beutler’s floating boathouse to Loris Gréaud’s immersive Venetian glass installation, crossovers between the spheres of art and design are not unheard of at the Venice Biennale. Case in point: the Cyprus pavilion, which is presenting art by Polys Peslikas, in a setting devised by London-based designer Michael Anastassiades.

Curated by contemporary art critic Jan Verwoert, the exhibition takes the history of colour as the starting point, analysing Cyprus’ central role in pigment exchanges throughout Asia and the Mediterranean. Verwoert hones in on this East/West notion, an increasingly important political topic in modern times.

‘Rejecting the false securities of catastrophic thought,’ explains the curator, ‘the show pays homage to the vibrant insecurities of life and the trade of ideas, via painting and its sister arts.’

A gallery with white walls and abstract paintings on the wall. in the center of the room is a grey carved stone bench.

(Image credit: TBC)

Installation view of ‘The Future of Colour’ at the Cyprus pavilion

Housed in Venice’s Associazione Culturale Spiazzi, the Pavilion features Pselikas’s paintings (alongside works by artist collective Neoterismoi Toumazou and ceramicist Valentinos Charalambous), large canvases depicting semi-abstract anthropomorphic figures in a pastel palette.

Cyprus-born Anastassiades was called in to oversee the exhibition design, as well as contribute furniture to the space. Facing a Venetian canal, the pared-back space acted as a blank canvas for the designer, who added a series of white walls to punctuate the original raw elements of the building.

‘I designed the pavilion to optimise the experience of viewing the paintings,’ says the designer. ‘In minimising the architectural noise, I wanted to provide a space to contemplate in this unique location by the canal.’

Anastassiades also designed a low-key series of stone benches, dotted around the venue. The designer notes, ‘The result is a very meditative environment reflecting the depth of the works.’

The entrace of the gallery with the double doors open. The walk way leading to the doors has two grey carved stone benches against a wall on the left and on the right green plants against a wall. Through the door is a peek of an abstract painting on the wall

The Cypriot designer created a low-key series of carved stone benches

(Image credit: TBC)

Abstract painting on a white wall in a gallery, with a grey carved stone bench in the center of the room

The pared-back space acted as a blank canvas for Anastassiades, who added a series of white walls to punctuate the original raw elements of the building

(Image credit: TBC)


The 57th Venice Biennale continues until 26 November. For more information, visit the Cyprus Pavilion website and the Venice Biennale website


Associazione Culturale Spiazzi
Castello 3865
30122 Venice


Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.