Garden of Hybrid Pleasure
"Venice has always existed as you see it today, more or less. It’s sailed since the dawn of time; it’s put in at every port, it’s rubbed up against every shore, quay, and landing-stage: Middle Eastern pearls, transparent Phoenician sand, Greek seashells, Byzantine seaweed all accreted on its scales. But one day it felt all the weight of those scales, those garments and splinters that had permanently accumulated on its skin; it felt the weight of the incrustations it was carrying around. Its flippers grew too heavy to slip among the currents. It decided to climb once and for all into one of the most northerly and sheltered inlets of the Mediterranean, and rest there.”
Tiziano Scarpa, Venice Is A Fish: A sensual Guide Trans, Shaun Whiteside, (New York:Gotham Books, 2008), p. 2
Exploration of Venice quickly reveals it to be a city founded upon the grotesque.The city’s role as a cultural melting pot serves as the basis for this research, with material hybrids existing at the core of its food, art objects and cultural practices.This blending helps to generate Venice’s atmosphere, granting it an exotic air, setting it apart as a unique city. This thesis aims to build upon Venice’s inherent atmospheric condition. It aims to develop a space within the city for the direct exploration of atmosphere and contamination.The Visitor is encouraged to occupy the site, to indulge their senses. The design research becomes rooted in atmosphere and the process of creation and change. In keeping with the theme of the peripheral, the design thesis rests upon the Casino degli Spiriti. A pleasure garden on Venice’s northern coast, the site is open to the lagoon and is exposed to its ever-shifting atmosphere. The concept of the pleasure garden offers a means of initiating the design thesis. Closely linked with sensuousness and leisure, the garden offers the notion of a third-place, separate from work or the private dwelling. This place of pleasure supports the notion of a constructed atmosphere and provides a space separate from the confines of the city for people to relax and enjoy themselves. As a place of retreat and indulgence, the garden assumes the role of a performative space, where atmospheres can act upon the senses of the visitor.Thus, the concept of the pleasure garden suggests a form of multi-sensorial architecture focused on the output of atmospheres. The themes explored during this research are closely linked to the concepts of contamination, atmosphere, and the grotesque. Spaces that are in some way messy, exposing the occupant to the scents and detritus generated within are suggested. The focus of this design research is a food academy. By creating spaces where food and its process can be interacted with, the lines between the various practices blur together, creating secondary atmospheres. Liminal spaces are created, where the act of visiting leaves traces of smoke and scent embedded in the hair, skin and clothing of the people that pass through the site.