officeUS examines american architectural exports at venice biennale
image © designboom




intended to create an environment for critical reflection on the past 100 years of design exported by american firms across the globe, the US pavilion at the venice biennale 2014 has created officeUS, arranged as a functioning architecture workplace. while taking a critical look toward the past, the exhibition also projects a new framework for a, ‘global architectural practice open to all of us.’ the exhibition has been organized by storefront for art and architecture as well as praxis journal, with a trio of curators including eva franch i gilabert, ana miljački, and ashley schafer.


transparent acrylic desktops display objects relating to the exhibit and the typical office environment
image © designboom




a repository of project documentation wraps the pavilion’s interior, and catalogs works completed by US architectural studios in foreign countries, beginning from 1914. additionally, an active and experimental ‘office’ serves as a laboratory which produces new material based on the analysis and reinterpretation of content from the archive. the rather than placing emphasis on a particular field or scale, the exhibition takes influence from the big and small, as well as the corporate and avant-garde contributions to global design.


the walls of the pavilion are covered with documents cataloging exemplary projects
image © designboom


visitors are able to sit up to the office work stations and view computer screen savers
image © designboom




the design of the pavilion was developed by new york-based studio leong leong, along with the pavilion’s curators, and was informed by the legacy of architectural offices in the US. however, details and finishes are treated in a new way to enhance the exhibition experience. tinted acrylic tables serve as both work areas and display cases for objects, and are elevated by sawhorses. visitors roam freely through the spaces, and can browse through project documents of the repository and also sit up to the desks. simultaneously, the team of officeUS partners are constantly on display, working to produce new content. mirrored vertical blinds serve as a reinterpretation of a traditional office shading device, and also become a distinguishing element of the intervention on the neoclassical US pavilion.


a team of designers work to produce new proposals based on the archive’s contents
image courtesy of david sundberg / esto


an assortment of architectural tools are displayed in the transparent desks
image © designboom


a marble sculpture provides seating at the center of the pavilion structure
image © designboom


the circular space is lined in standard shading blinds with mirrored surfaces
image © designboom


the tables serve as work desks while also displaying exhibition objects
image © designboom


work / display tables are elevated by saw horses
image © designboom




the officeUS repository represents 1000 projects completed all over the globe by over 200 US based architecture firms. the content presented by and produced at the US pavilion will be released in a four part series catalog, published by lars müller. the first of which, titled officeUS agenda, provides insight into topics that have arisen over 100 years of exporting architecture, and can be found here.


mirrored blinds cover the pavilion’s front façade
image © designboom

the shading system contrasts the neoclassical pavilion
image © designboom



an interview with eva franch and ana miljacki at ‘officeUS’
video courtesy of ‪la ‬b‪iennale di ‬v‪enezia ‬



the graphic identity helps to characterize the simple and efficient visual language of officeUS, and was created by pentagram. the design combines ubiquitous typefaces, a black and white color palette, infographics, and architectural photography for use on the maps, timelines, repository binders, and overall publicity.


animated graphic for officeUS
image courtesy of pentagram


animated graphic for officeUS
image courtesy of pentagram


a model displays the projected design
image courtesy of leong leong, photo by naho kubota


floor plan of the pavilion
image courtesy of leong leong




featuring: arielle assouline-lichten, matteo ghidoni, m-a-u-s-e-r: mona mahall & asli serbest, cooking sections: daniel fernández pascual & alon schwabe, curtis roth, manuel shvartzberg carrió and U.S. architectural firms working globally, 1914-2014
commissioner: storefront for art and architecture
deputy commissioner: praxis
curators: eva franch i gilabert, ana miljacki, ashley schafer
deputy curator: michael kubo
venue: pavilion at giardini, venice


the entire officeUS team includes architizer, clog, michael kubo, chris leong and dominic leong (leong leong), natasha jen (pentagram), praxis, jacob reidel, and carlos minguez carrasco (storefront for art and architecture).