francis kéré leads the masses into the unknown unknowns of the 23rd triennale

Pritzker Prize-winning architect Francis Kéré is curating the 23rd Triennale exhibition

23 country pavilions are being built for this purpose 23rd International Exhibition of the Triennale. Curated by Pritzker Prize award-winning architect Francis Kereand Ersilia Vaudo, astrophysicist and Chief Diversity Officer at the European Space Agency, the unknown unknowns. An Introduction to the Mysteries begins its journey through December 11, 2022. From urban development to oceans, and from genetics to astrophysics, scientists, artists, and designers come together to show the world what we don’t yet know. For the first time, Africa’s presence is stronger than ever, as the continent is represented among the international participations present by 6 States: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda.


(above) The installation “Yesterday’s Tomorrow” will be erected in the central plaza of the exhibition, which houses the international participations and was built as a tribute to Burkina Faso’s native architecture | Image © DSL Studio

(banner) the iconic staircase in the Palazzo dell’Arte | Image © designboom

Francis Kerewho made history as the first African to receive the prestigious award, erected for the four installations 23rd International Exhibition of the Triennale, guiding the visitor’s path in, out and around the famous Milan building. Aiming to address the African continent’s lack of recognition, the Burkinabé architect shows the world traditional culture and beauty, as well as emerging issues and concerns.

“A huge continent with so many great countries is always left out and it’s a great opportunity for Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, Lesotho and the Republic of the Congo, it’s a great opportunity for these little-known countries to talk about something.” about himself. Despite being the closest neighboring continent to Europe, Africa is not much talked about in the news and not much is broadcast,” says Francis Kere.

francis kéré leads the masses into the unknown unknowns of the 23rd triennale
the sketch of Francis Kéré’s “The Future’s Present” tower at the entrance to the Triennale | Image courtesy of Alpha Kilo

the 12 m high tower invites visitors to escape the rhythm of the city

One of the architect’s installations cannot be overlooked is “The Future’s Present”, the 12-metre tower directly opposite the Triennale entrance. The construction creates a space where people can escape the busy rhythm of the city and take refuge in a tower overlooking the surrounding landscape. a quiet place in the hectic rhythm of Milan. The relationship between man and nature is strengthened and a space for contemplation and imagination is created.

“The goal of each of the four installations is to create spaces where people can find comfort, regardless of their financial situation. The tower encourages Milanese to take time for a quiet place to sit and reflect on what they have just seen through the exhibits. Through “The Future’s Present” we see the surrounding environment and nature and forget the burden of today’s problems such as climate change, scarcity of resources, conflict and population growth. Basically, with this structure, I wanted my team to create a relationship between people and the sky and a space for imagination. continues the architect and curator.

francis kéré leads the masses into the unknown unknowns of the 23rd triennial
Seat “Yesterday of tomorrow” | Image © designboom

“Yesterday’s Tomorrow” arches as a seat

“Yesterday’s Tomorrow” is located right in the central room of the international exhibitions. Constructed as a homage to Burkina Faso’s native architecture, the installation consists of two curved walls. Once inside and out, a seating area is revealed, offering visitors another small escape.

the artisans of the Burkina Faso Pavilion completing the mural painting | Video © design boom

Drawn Together invites people to paint the mural

The traditional motifs and patterns continue in the Drawn Together room, which marks the country’s first participation in the exhibition. Here, artisans can be seen embellishing the mural using simple brushes and paints made from natural materials. The symbols depicted are more than just decorations, they represent the importance of music, family and the role of animals in the world. Human or not, equality takes shape when the sharing of resources develops harmoniously.

“For a country like Burkina Faso, being in Milan and talking about its greatness is really fundamental as it’s a great opportunity to show something different than what we know in the West. THis aim is to pull together what you will see the artisans in the Burkina Faso Pavilion stand there trying to create a mural using natural products that tells the story and is all about participation. Here the women invite the public to join in and really try to experience a tradition that is vital in Burkina Faso.” the architect continues.

francis kéré leads the masses into the unknown unknowns of the 23rd triennial
Installation “Under a Coffee Tree” by Francis Kéré in the Triennial Café | Image courtesy of Alpha Kilo

the triennial café becomes part of the installations

“Under a Coffee Tree” adorns the communal café area of ​​the Triennale. Here, in collaboration with the Lavazza Group, the tree and the benches bring people closer together, as does the ritual of coffee for countries around the world.

“Discovering the unknown means being willing to tackle the actual unknown, and that goes right down to the Lavazza installation. Every cup of coffee, no matter how small, is the result of a bean from the coffee tree. What we want is for people to sit and think about what they saw during the exhibition and then start a dialogue of contemplation with their seatmate. says the architect.

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