19 May / 26 November 2023

"ARCHIFUSION" is the title chosen for the ambitious project realised on the occasion of 18th International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia 2023. In addition to the usual National Participations, this year - among the big news, Niger is present for the first time with its own National Pavilion set up at San Servolo Island / Palazzina Libeccio (Venice) with the curatorship of Boris Brollo and the support of the commissioner Dr. Souleymane Ibrahim. The project is in perfect line with the concept of "Laboratory of the Future" of the curator of the Biennale Lesley Lokko, this because ArchiFusion explores the idea of collaboration in the broadest sense of an enlarged "workshop/laboratory", where the basic concept becomes the collaboration based on the exchange of common experiences and therefore on the growth of a common knowledge of all the parties involved in the project. As part of the Niger Pavilion, the "Brique Magique" is also presented, a type of brick that has been "reformed" by the Architecture Studio Mauro Peloso, specialized in technologically advanced building systems with particular attention to bio-architecture and construction. To enrich the Pavilion, a large group of artists developed the decorative patterns by conceiving their work as "a common artisan workshop". Committee of Honor: Dr. Mohamed Hamid (Minister of Culture, Tourism and Handicrafts of the Republic of Niger), Dr. Ibrahim Souleymane (Commissioner of the Republic of Niger Pavilion), Mme. Fatimata Cheffou (H.E. Ambassador of Niger in Italy), H.E. Dr. Emilia Gatto (Italian Ambassador in Niamey, Niger), Gianluca Cinque (Military Officer), CISP (International Committee for the Development of Peoples), Andrea Rossi Andrea (Multimedia Artist). Technical Committee: Mauro Peloso (Designer Architect), Lucia Tomasi (Executive Architect), Luca Casonato (Photographer), Simon Ostan Simone (Art Director). The project is patronised by the Consular Section of the Embassy of Niger, by the Ministry of Culture, by the Italian Embassy in Niamey, by Regione Veneto, by AIAP – Unesco and by CISP. The National Pavilion of Niger at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice was realised in collaboration with Artestruttura.

"Eclectic is a term that is used to refer to those, in the field of arts and science, who do not follow a predetermined system or direction, but rather select and harmonise diverse systems and directions in order to achieve optimal project results. This is also the foundational principle of our project for the national Pavilion of the Republic of Niger, which combines different cultures, African and Western cultures. This combination generates a cultural workshop in which, from the encounter of the two cultures, a third one emerges. We call this Archifusion (Architectural Fusion). The project consists of the fusion between a traditional, tribal and ethnic architecture and Western techniques. This collaboration is based on the exchange of common experiences and, therefore, on the development of common knowledge of all parties involved in the project. This development and growth have today a central role in knowledge exchange, as knowledge has become a capital resource and intellectual property, which may generate barriers that exclude countries that are technologically less advanced. Archifusion aims at overcoming these barriers by offering the most advanced technologies to serve a third diverse, miscellaneous culture. The purpose is to preserve the architectural beauty and history of the Republic of Niger without neglecting and devaluing its aesthetic authenticity, but rather to enhance and perpetuate it. This contribution originates from the analysis of the evolution of bricks in the western world over the last decades to improve living comfort and energy efficiency. This analysis produced ‘Brique Magique’, a brick that can still be produced with raw soil, but with a different shape and internal holes. These simple changes give the brick new features which allow thicker bricklaying, providing more stability and more thermal inertia and thus enhancing the living comforts. The holes can be filled with any local materials (e.g. sand, stone chippings, dirt, straw, etc.) which further increases the brick’s efficiency. Moreover, the peculiar shape allows building either straight or curved walling – which can be used, for instance, to build silos for grain storage. On the other hand, the traditional decorations of the houses are here re-interpreted by Italian artists who place themselves in relation to Nigerien culture, as a collective artisan workshop, in order to revive this tradition in "modern" terms, thus trying to give a different aspect to the constructions to be done."

Artists / Nino Barone, Paola Bega, Alda Bòscaro, Bluer (Lorenzo Viscidi), Giancarlo Caneva, Giampietro Cavedon, Maristella Chiarello, Arlia-Hamda Elmi, Mirko Filipuzzi, Pamela Fullin, Annamaria Gelmi, Luciano Longo, Paolo Marazzi, Marvin, Roberto Mondani, Lucia Paese, Franz Pelizza, Manuela Pittana, Manuela Poggioli, Claudia Raza, Carla Rigato, Pietro Ronzat, Andrea Rossi Andrea, Cesare Serafino, Simon Ostan Simone, Lucia Tomasi, Anna Trapasso, Andrea Vizzini, Leonardo Zanin, Antonio Zucchiatti