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For the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale (June 7–November 23), the Swarovski Foundation announced a collaboration with the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas for a light installation that fills the first room of the Arsenale.
The first part of the installation is a histrionic archway made up of thousands of light bulbs and colored Swarovski crystal. The archway, called Luminaire, is meant to recall the Italian, Fellinian tradition of celebrations and religious festivals in which grand lighting plays a central role. The second stage of the installation is Monditalia, a visual narrative of Italy’s history. With a historic map reproduced upon the walls, viewers can see dance, theater, music, and film from earlier Biennales, touring the politics and culture of past and present Italy.
Of the installation, Nadja Swarovski said, “Luminaire acts as a transformative portal to the world of Monditalia, Rem’s vivid tableau of Italian history, and offers a fresh perspective, literally bringing new light to bear on a familiar place.” In this way, Luminaire and Monditalia not only illuminate, but investigate contemporary notions of architecture.