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Madeleine Kessler and Manijeh Verghese

Madeleine Kessler associate architect, Haptic Architecture and founder, mnm & Manijeh Verghese designer, curator and architecture tutor


Architect Madeleine Kessler and artist Manijeh Verghese have been chosen by the British Council to represent the UK at the 17th Venice architecture biennale.

Kessler and Verghese’s winning concept for the British Pavilion is called The Garden of Privatised Delights and explores the creeping epidemic of privatised public spaces across cities in the UK. 

According to the curators, the project was inspired by Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights, and explores how public spaces in the UK including playgrounds and high streets are under threat from increasing privatisation. The exhibition will engage in the current debate around ownership and access to what we perceive as public space. 

Kessler and Verghese will transform the British Pavilion into a series of immersive spaces, presenting both a critique of how they are currently used while providing ideas to give the public more control and ownership of public spaces. 

“We will be working with an experienced team of architects and designers who are at the forefront of research and practice on this subject,” said Kessler and Verghese.

“We hope to widen access not only to the Biennale but also to who participates in the discussion around privatised-public space. It is our hope that through the research, design and legacy of the project, we can begin to imagine all public spaces as Gardens of Delight.’

Madeleine Kessler is an associate architect at Haptic Architects and co founder of Studio mnm. Manijeh Verghese is a designer, curator and architecture tutor.

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