Kuwait’s participation in the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia
Water Tower / Drinking Fountain was a gift to the Nordic Pavilion from the Pavilion of Kuwait at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of la Bienale di Venezia. The drinking fountain in the shape of the 1970s Kuwait Water Tower designed by Swedish architect Sune Lindström is a popular and reoccurring feature in Kuwait's urban landscape. Its placement in front of the Nordic Pavilion in the Giardini during the Venice Biennale disrupts the binary division between first and third world countries as represented in the Arsennale-Giardini configuration of the Biennale. It is also an attempt to return a work of architecture to its country of origin after assimilation / absorption / appropriation in a foreign context. The Water Tower / Drinking Fountain supplied drinking water to visitors during the entire 6 months of the Biennale in 2014. After the biennale, the Water Tower / Drinking Fountain was installed permanently in a public park in Casale sul Sile (Treviso) were it can be found today.
Thanks to Nina Frang Høyum, Nina Berre, Gro Bonesmo, Jørgen Vidnes, Alessandro Bogomainerio, Ali Al Youha, Rem Koolhaas, and Stephan Petermann.
Information on plaque:
Arabic for way, a sabil
(pronounced sa-beel) refers to water donated to a community. Nowadays, sabils
are most usually public water fountains, and family members can donate one in
the name of a deceased. In the past when water was scarce, sabils served water
to travellers and passersby for drinking, ablution, and animal feeding.
Although no longer difficult to transport nor in short supply, water in the
tradition of sabils still exist in Kuwait, where the fountains have taken on
local modernist water-themed designs - such as VBB's Water Towers and Malene
Bjorn's Kuwait Towers.
View of Installation in the Giardini.
Visitors filling bottles at the Water Tower / Drinking Fountain.