in an effort to convey the ongoing brexit mood, 3GATTI has envisioned ‘the british heart’ installation for the british pavilion at the 2020 venice biennale. the heart will ‘beat’ inside the space, inflating when visitors show an interest, but slowly deflating if no one is interested. the concept behind the proposal is to create a spatial language which represents contemporary british culture and sentiment. the vision creates a bold metaphor to visualize the forces that are pushing people in and out of the U.K.

3GATTI proposes a giant inflating heart for british pavilion at the 2020 venice biennale designboom
the british heart is deflated, visitors come inside the pavilion

images courtesy of 3GATTI



3GATTI proposes the installation to be made from an inflatable, square volume that will range between 2 and 5 meters in height. its surface might be a simple, grey color (possibly representing the rafts that immigrants use to cross the channel) or emblazoned with the union jack. the inflatable object would be built with a void in the middle, and to optimize the speed of inflation, it would be made of two concentric donuts; the external one being thin but always inflated and the internal one inflating and deflating to push the outside layer backwards and forwards. 

3GATTI proposes a giant inflating heart for british pavilion at the 2020 venice biennale designboom
as the form inflates, visitors are pushed outside by the advancing rubber wall



electric air blower pumps will be hidden in the middle of the form and powered by solar panels that can be placed on the roof of the pavilion. sometimes, the inflation will be violently fast and noisy. at other times, it will be very slow and contemplative. the digital control for the beating of the heart will be responsive and configure into different patterns depending on the number of visitors and factors such as the room noise and luminosity. the engagement created by the movement of the british heart will deliver amazement, confusion, anxiety and, finally, panic! however, this will be followed by an opportunity to calm down, feel a release of pressure and allow people to contemplate what they have experienced.

3GATTI proposes a giant inflating heart for british pavilion at the 2020 venice biennale designboom
plan of the venice british pavilion – the british heart is deflated and people are coming inside



the installation is intended to be a sensory architecture of emotions. an interactive and immersive space that wants to play with its audience in creating a feeling of complicity and solidarity amongst other visitors that have had to face this unexpected architectural happening, together. the work aims to generate a debate so the space can host many related events, helping the public to get deeper into the topic and have a clearer understanding of the british people and their ideas and solutions for the future of migration and national identity.

3GATTI proposes a giant inflating heart for british pavilion at the 2020 venice biennale designboom
plan of the venice british pavilion – the british heart is inflating and people pushed outside



project info:


project name: ‘the british heart’

design: 3GATTI

chief architect: francesco gatti

project architect: andrea manzini

curator: adipat virdi

client: british council

design period: february 2019

materials: PVC membrane, rubber bands, electric blowers


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lynne myers | designboom

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