Templo’s Venice Biennale identity references rituals of UK diasporic communities

The studio draws on its shared cultural heritage and personal migration journeys to continue the themes explored at the Venice Biennale.

25 May 2023

This year, the British Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale will explore everyday rituals like dancing, cooking and growing food. Specifically, the exhibition will show how these practices have become tools for diasporic communities to establish spaces and environments. The corresponding visual identity comes from the desk of Templo, with its design team helping exhibition curators Jayden Ali, Joseph Henry, Meneesha Kellay and Sumitra Upham to create new visions for British architecture.

The Templo identity presents multiple ways into the exhibition, titled Dancing Before the Moon. The concept of “portals” form the basis of the design; each portal is made from shapes which represent a separate artist’s commission. These are then emphasised with diffused edges, which Templo says “references the visual language in India and Sri Lanka”. The portals are used throughout as a device for layering further assets, like artist images, or left unfilled to invite audiences into the pavilion in person and digitally.

While the presence of portals echoes the migration journey, Templo’s chosen colour palette is tied to the exhibition title and suggests celestial light and luminescence. References to the celestial came through early on with the teaser campaign; when Templo couldn’t fully reveal the commissions, it framed them as monolithic structures, paired with a rising and falling moon.

The British Council’s Sevra Davis has spoken about how this year’s commission aims to promote a “radically different vision for the UK”, speaking to wider audiences in the process. Templo’s visual identity is a central part of how audiences will be welcomed into this year’s British Pavilion.

“Our own migration journeys were a huge influence on the brand and allowed us to connect with the curatorial narrative on a visceral level,” says Templo’s Anoushka Rodda and Pali Palavathanan. “We tapped into our lived experiences of the rituals celebrated in this year's pavilion to better the project and convey nuanced themes. It was a true collaboration to realise the vision of the curatorial team and be a part of a pavilion that holds space for rituals that are often unseen nor celebrated in British society today.”

Dancing Before the Moon will run from 20 May to 26 November 2023 at the 18th Venice Biennale.

GalleryTemplo: British Council, Dancing Before the Moon for Venice Biennale 2023 (Copyright © Templo, 2023)

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Templo: British Council, Dancing Before the Moon for Venice Biennale 2023 (Copyright © Templo, 2023)

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Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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