HCMA creates installation for Venice exhibition

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Vancouver design firm HCMA is contributing Who Is This For to the Time Space Existence architecture exhibition (20 May-26 November) in Venice, Italy. The installation and microsite will focus on provoking the design industry to take responsibility for creating inclusive, accessible public spaces.

The art installation and online experience aims to create a sense of the discomfort, alienation and frustration felt by millions when they cannot access or fully participate in public spaces. It challenges designers to take responsibility for their work and be part of an inclusive solution to this global problem.

Time Space Existence is a biennial group exhibition presented by The European Cultural Centre (ECC). It features projects, innovative proposals and dreams of architectural expressions. The 2023 edition will draw attention to the emerging expressions of sustainability in its numerous forms, ranging from a focus on the environment and urban landscape to the unfolding conversations on innovation, reuse and community.

Visitors to Who Is This For will encounter a fictional city close-up and side-on: a scaled composite of 11 global city grids, including New York City, São Paulo, Lagos, London, Mumbai and Montréal. The grids are stitched together to form one urban space. It is at once both nowhere and everywhere. Each grid has been chosen for its specific manifestation of design inequalities in urban spaces. In a handful of cases, like Singapore’s Enabling Village and Toronto’s Regent Park, they show examples of inclusivity and therefore hope.

“‘Who is this for?’ is a question that all designers ask in their work—but often they answer far too narrowly or without much thought. It’s a question we need to ask better, to seek more and different perspectives, to consider and embrace more people, to become more inclusive, by design. From our own privileged position, we are mindful that we too have been part of the problem in the past. However, we want to be an active agent of change within the industry. We can’t change everything, but we can change something,” said Darryl Condon, HCMA managing principal.

The biennial exhibition runs from 20 May – 26 November, 2023 at Palazzo Bembo, Venice.

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