Narine Arakelian at the Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo

Seeing a 15-th Century Building in a New Light


VENICE (Designboom) — Armenian artist Narine Arakelian has transformed Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo, one of Venice’s iconic landmarks, and its 15th-century spiral staircase into a multi-colored lighthouse. Presented as part of the Venice Art Biennale 2019, the installation sees colorful rays of light emerge from the spiraling tower, each hue emanating from a different architectural aperture. the light installation, visible across the city’s skyline, seeks to play on spectators’ ideas of perception and time, as the ‘lighthouse’ becomes a singular moment linking the past, present and future.

The lights inside the building

Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo was built in the 15th century by Giovanni Candi for the powerful Contarini family, who had their home tucked away down a narrow Venetian street. In order to give the dwelling a touch of prestige, architect Giorgio Spavento designed a staircase that spiraled five stories upward across the building’s facade. The staircase leads to an arcade that offers some of the most impressive views across the city. Inspired by this architectural marvel and its rich history, Arakelian adopted the building as the center piece of her exhibition, the pharos flower, for her presentation at the Venice Art Biennale.

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