make your fridays matter with a well-read weekend


Venice Architecture Biennale 2023

The Laboratory of the Future


The 18th International Architecture Exhibition, titled The Laboratory of the Future, will be open to the public from May 20 to November 26, 2023, at the Giardini and the Arsenale, and at Forte Marghera; it will be curated by Lesley Lokko and organised by La Biennale di Venezia.


In an official statement explaining this year's curatorial note Lesley Lokko said:
“The Laboratory of the Future is an exhibition in six parts. It includes 89 participants, over half of whom are from Africa or the African Diaspora. The gender balance is 50/50, and the average age of all participants is 43, dropping to 37 in the Curator’s Special Projects, where the youngest is 24. 46% of participants count education as a form of practice, and, for the first time ever, nearly half of the participants are from sole or individual practices of five people or less. Across all the parts of The Laboratory of the Future, over 70% of exhibits are practices run by an individual or a very small team.”

The Laboratory of the Future begins in the Central Pavilion in the Giardini, where 16 practices that represent a distilled force majeure of African and Diasporic architectural production have been gathered. It moves to the Arsenale complex, where participants in the Dangerous Liaisons section – also represented in Forte Marghera in Mestre - rub shoulders with the Curator’s Special Projects, for the first time a category that is as large as the others. Threaded through and amongst the works in both venues are young African and Diasporan practitioners, our Guests from the Future, whose work engages directly with the twin themes of this exhibition, decolonisation and decarbonisation, providing a snapshot, a glimpse of future practices and ways of seeing and being in the world.

We have deliberately chosen to frame participants as ‘practitioners’ – the Curator stated – and not ‘architects’ and/or ‘urbanists’, ‘designers’, ‘landscape architects’, ‘engineers’ or ‘academics’ because it is our contention that the rich, complex conditions of both Africa and a rapidly hybridising world call for a different and broader understanding of the term ‘architect’.

The Laboratory of the Future programme is enriched by Carnival, a six-month-long cycle of events, lectures, panel discussions, films, and performances, that explore the themes of the Biennale Architettura 2023. Carnival is supported by Rolex, Exclusive Partner and Official Timepiece of the Exhibition.

64 National Participations will organize their exhibitions in the historic Pavilions at the Giardini (27), at the Arsenale (22) and in the city centre of Venice (14). Niger participates for the first time at the Biennale Architettura; Panama participates for the first time with its own pavilion. The Italian Pavilion at the Tese delle Vergini in the Arsenale, sponsored and promoted by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity of the Ministry of Culture, is curated by the Fosbury Architecture collective, consisting of Giacomo Ardesio, Alessandro Bonizzoni, Nicola Campri, Veronica Caprino, Claudia Mainardi. The title of the exhibition is SPAZIALE: Everyone Belongs to Everyone Else.

The Collateral Events, which are admitted by the Curator and promoted by non–profit national and international bodies and institutions, will be announced in the coming weeks. Organized in several locations around the city of Venice, they offer a wide range of contributions and participations that enrich the diversity of voices that characterizes the Exhibition.

La Biennale di Venezia and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London present for the seventh consecutive year the Applied Arts Pavilion Special Project (Arsenale, Sale d’Armi A) titled Tropical Modernism: Architecture and Power in West Africa, curated by Christopher Turner (V&A) with Nana Biamah-Ofosu and Bushra Mohamed (AA). The presentation is organised in collaboration with the Architectural Association (AA), London and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi.

La Biennale dedicates the Biennale Sessions project to Universities, Academies of Fine Arts, and other Institutes of Higher Learning. The aim is to facilitate three-day self-organized visits by groups of at least 50 students and teachers, offering assistance in the organization of travel and accommodations and the possibility of organizing seminars in exhibition venues free of charge.


Lesley Lokko


Adjaye Associates, Atelier Masomi, Cave Bureau, Kéré Architecture, MASS Design Group, SOFTLAB@PSU, Sumayya Vally and Moad Musbahi, Thandi Loewenson, Theaster Gates Studio, Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation, Liam Young, Neri&Hu Design and Research Office, Rahul Mehrotra with Ranjit Hoskote, Studio Barnes, White Arkitekter, Sweet Water Foundation and more


Rolex, Bloomberg Philanthropies with Bloomberg Connects and Vela-Venezia Unica, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
This site uses cookies to offer you an improved and personalised experience. If you continue to browse, we will assume your consent for the same.