Shigeru Ban's installation built with 90,000 makeup cases

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Shigeru Ban's Venice biennale installation is made from thousands of makeup cases

Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has designed a temporary addition to a 17th-century Venetian palazzo, featuring a curved structure covered with 90,000 empty containers usually used to hold eyeshadow.

Pavilion of Light and Sound by Shigeru Ban at Venice 2015

Called Reverberation – Pavilion of Light and Sound, the installation is located at Palazzo Pisani, which dates back to 1603, and was designed by Shigeru Ban for cosmetics company Shiseido.

The structure was commissioned to occupy a space in the building during the Venice Art Biennale as part of a promotional campaign for the latest collection from Shiseido's Clé de Peau Beauté range, called Lights of Venice.

Pavilion of Light and Sound by Shigeru Ban at Venice 2015

The main element of the structure is an arc-shaped acrylic roof that swoops up to a height of nine metres, covering the palazzo's courtyard.

"To cut out a space surrounded by the narrow historical facade of Palazzo Pisani, I have used acrylic sheets for the exterior of the pavilion, and allowed them to hang in a natural suspension, creating a parabola," said Ban, who was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 2014.

Pavilion of Light and Sound by Shigeru Ban at Venice 2015

The main surface of the pavilion is covered in empty makeup palettes, creating a tiled effect and filtering the light that passes through the roof. At the base of the curve, a pool of water has been added to provide additional lighting effects inside.

Pavilion of Light and Sound by Shigeru Ban at Venice 2015

"The first time I saw the palette of Clé de Peau Beauté, the dark blue colours looked to me like a tile that reflects and absorbs light," explained the architect.

"So I've taken this case and stuck them on both sides of the acrylic sheets, spaced in 9-millimetre gaps, just like tiles."

Pavilion of Light and Sound by Shigeru Ban at Venice 2015

"They reflect light and make darkness in the interior and, through the spaces between them, a wavering light that is characteristic of Venice flows into the structure, reflected from surface of the water functioned as a fixed weight," he added.

The pavilion was open to the public for two days to coincide with the beginning of the Venice Art Biennale, which runs from 9 May to 22 November.

On the Biennale's Giardini site, Israeli artist Tsibi Geva has covered his country's pavilion in thousands of used tyres.

Photography is by Didier Boy de la Tour.


Project credits:

Organiser: Shiseido
Exhibition planning and coordination: Rumiko Ito, Misa Shin & Co.
Pavilion design: Shigeru Ban
Lighting design: Akari-Lisa Ishii
Acoustics: Daniel Commins
Music program: Keiko Mitsuhashi