Rising sea levels envisioned through eyes of a mermaid at Denmark's Venice Architecture Biennale pavilion

A Interview with the Curator, Published in Dezeen, 17 May 2023

A model that imagines a mermaid's view of the rising sea levels features in Coastal Imaginaries exhibition at the Danish Pavilion, which is the first in a series of exclusive Venice Architecture Biennale online pavilion openings. Curated by Copenhagen Architecture Festival director Josephine Michau, the pavilion aims to illuminate the threat of rising sea levels on coastal cities and the need to rethink architecture in these locations.

Coastal Imaginaries responds to this year's theme for the Venice Architecture Biennale named Laboratory of the Future, which was selected by curator Lesley Lokko. Michau said her focus on coastal cities and rising sea levels was chosen as it is important to the future of Denmark, but as it is also relevant to Venice – a city at risk of being lost to the sea. "Denmark has approximately 8,000 kilometres of coastline, and the coasts are a large part of our identity," Michau told Dezeen. "As we were exhibiting in Venice it was crucial for us that we would focus on something that we knew was also relevant in that context," she added.

Michau hopes the exhibition can also serve as a reminder of the "planet's climatic state" and how the world must begin to prioritise designing in line with natural processes. "The coastal regions, with their rapid and volatile changes, serve as fitting representations of the planet's climatic state," she said. "It is widely acknowledged that the current predicament is largely attributable to the hegemony of Western narratives that glorifies a progress through imperialism, colonialism and extractivism."

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Entrance to the Danish Pavilion


Coastal Imaginaries is the name of the Danish Pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia in 2023. Critical Coast is the name of the publication made in connection with it.

This place aims at gathering a lot of the inspiration and knowledge surrounding the project and is growing along the span of the exhibition.