, interactive installation, interactive architecture, cybernetics, responsive architecture, interactive art, digital fabrication, responsive art, responsive installation, living architecture, installation art, soft architecture, kinetic art, kinetic installation, responsive environments, interacitve environments, cyber-physical


Venice Biennale 2021

Venice, IT  2021

Grove is a delicate and beautiful gathering space that offers a vision for inclusive, open building. A soaring, undulating canopy of luminous, lace-like clouds embedded with liquid-filled glass vessels hovers above a central pool-shaped screen, into which a film, called Grove Cradle, by London-based Warren du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones is projected. The projection pool is surrounded by a forest of totemic, basket-like columns with embedded custom speakers that carry a multi-channel spatial sound environment by composer Salvador Breed and 4DSOUND of Amsterdam.

Together, the film and sound environment offer visitors an almost overwhelmingly intense experience of innumerable worlds falling into chaos and rising again in new life. Inspired by the form language of Beesley’s “living architecture” environments, the film’s intricate geometries move from inert crystalline minerals into surging life forms. Within an astral, dream-like vision of constant metamorphosis, a child-like being emerges, reflecting the fundamental journey from death into new life. Rising and falling in cycles, deeply fragmented wilderness is interwoven with shimmering, hopeful light. Whispering voices emerge from cavernous depths, creating an emotional passage from suffering through new life and innocent wonder.

COVID-19 necessitated a complete re-imagining of the original Grove concept. Initially conceived of as a robustly physical, densely interactive environment, it soon became clear that a different type of public installation was required during a global pandemic. So Beesley looked to ways of creating expanded and enhanced physical and virtual experiences by working with collaborators in sound and film. The result is a new type of multimedia installation that re-interprets the interwoven layers and constantly transforming, near-to-life qualities of Beesley’s immersive architectural visions. It is also a direct response to the urgent question posed by the title of Hashim Sarkis’s exhibition.

How will we live together? Beesley and his collaborators offer a vision of a transformed world where future architecture seeks communion with plants, animals, and inert matter alike. Free citizenship was long defined by protective city walls, yet those same walls have also fueled catastrophic changes that befall us now. Instead of the rigid, bounded, and closed territories that divide us, can we live in open, constantly exchanging, shared worlds? Can a new architecture based on dissipative natural forms, such as fragile snowflakes and shifting clouds, create buildings that are both unapologetically sensitive and extraordinarily coherent, self-renewing, strong, and resilient?

In Grove, Philip Beesley has expanded upon his major built projects, such as the recent permanent sculpture Meander (located in Cambridge, Canada), and innovative fabrics developed in collaboration with fashion designer Iris van Herpen. The deeply layered, resilient physical structures of these preceding projects have been transformed into ghost-like virtual worlds for presentation in Venice. The experimental architecture of Grove offers profoundly restorative and healing qualities. By translating complex, interdependent natural systems into projected physical and virtual structures and environments, Grove offers a vision of a radically inclusive future where we can mesh our bodies, minds and spirits with our surroundings, breach seemingly unbreachable divides, and create renewed worlds grounded in mutual exchange and empathy.

Grove is open to the public at the Arsenale – one of the main exhibition venues of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia from May 22 to November 21, 2021. VIP and Press Pre-opening dates are from May 20 to 21, 2021.


Press and Media please download images and more information here


Grove Cradle Film

DigitalFUTURES Venice Biennale: Living Architecture

Press – Canadian Architect



Philip Beesley


Warren du Preez
Nick Thornton-Jones
Salvador Breed


Sascha Hastings

Design Studio Executive

Timothy Boll, project lead
Matt Gorbet
Rob Gorbet
Ellie Hayden
Michael Lancaster
Anne Paxton
Stephen Ru

Design Studio

Kevan Cress
Mackenzie Van Dam
Lisa Jiang
Bianca Weeko Martin


Grove Cradle – Philip Beesley
Film Installation – Directed by Warren Du Preez & Nick Thornton Jones & Immortal Productions
Curator & Producer – Sascha Hastings
Produced by – W&N Studio & PBSI Studio & Immortal Productions
Actress – Tilley Du Preez @ Sylvia Young Agency
Music Composition – Salvador Breed
VFX Creation – W&N Studio & Gavin Coetzee / Studio Tekati
VFX Creation Assistant – Kevan Cress
Editor – Xavier Perkins / Exeeda
3D Scanning – FBFX London (big thank you to Martin Kern)
Z Brush Artist – Chris Everritt
Storyboard Artist – Alex Noble
Motion Capture & Rigging – Mark Maxwell
PBSI Studio Assistance – Timothy Boll, Lisa Jiang, Michael Lancaster, Stephen Ru
Models and LIDAR Location: Meander, Tapestry Hall, Cambridge Canada, with thanks to Scott Higgins


Composer – Salvador Breed
Text – adapted from Gustav Flaubert’s The Temptation of Saint Anthony, 1874
Male voice – Philip Beesley
Female voice – Eva Bartels


Iris van Herpen
Poul Holleman
Codrin Talaba

LASG Executive

Sarah Bonnemaison
Matt Gorbet
Rob Gorbet
Salvador Miranda

LASG Studio

Bria Cole
Mark Francis
Ilana Hadad
Glenn Lu
Nikola Miloradovic
Meghan Won
Karen Zwart-Hielema


Gwynne Allanford
Filipe Costa
Dima Ghazal
Angie Kwon
Helia Mahdavi
Kailey Moulson
Ashley Peebles
Tahir Pervaiz
Julia Richard
Nathan Shakura
Dalia Todary-Michael
Xinyi Zhang

Installation Management

Amerigo Piana
Jordan Prosser
Davide Tiso
Mackenzie Van Dam

Installation Team

Giulio Ancona
Daniele Campesan
Andrea Ciccolella
Franco Conte
Davide Cupani
Margherita D’Adamo
Cristian Filiuta
Marine Franchi-Pinta
Alexandrina Godorogea
Elia Guglielmi
Cecilia Maran
Alessandro Marsiaj
Giovanni Nardello
Michela Perotello
Nicola Peruzzi
Ludovico Piccolo
Lorenzo Piva
Mattia Sanna Zolin
Margherita Scapin
Leonardo Sebastiani
Riccardo Sellan
Jasmine Stefanutto
Andrea Strata
Mateo Tomasini
Schani Turri
Piera Zacchigna
Geremia Zarantonello

Grove has been generously supported by 4DSOUND, Acrylite™, Anonymous, Atelier Iris van Herpen, Boko, Canada Council for the Arts, Christie Digital Systems, Conservatorio di Musica di Vicenza “Arrigo Pedrollo,” DigitalFUTURES, Embassy of Canada to Italy, EnTimeMent, Florida International University, Formlabs, Gaslights Events Company, Gorbet Design Inc., HIP Developments, Horizon 2020 – European Commission, Immortal Productions, Living Architecture Systems Group (LASG), MITACS, Pierre Lassonde Family Foundation, Riverside Architectural Press, Rock Paper Robot, RÖHM Products of America, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Stimuleringsfonds, Tapestry Hall, Toronto Arts Council, TU Delft, University of Waterloo, Voltera, Waterloo Architecture Cambridge, Wicked Pixels. This work has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and innovation programme under the EnTimeMent grant agreement No. 824160.

  • Acrylite™
  • boko
  • Canada Council for the Arts
  • Embassy of Canada to Italy
  • Chrisite Digital Systems
  • Conservatorio di Musica di Vicenza
  • Gaslight Events Company + HIP Developments
  • HIP Developments
  • Horizon 2020 – European Commission
  • La Biennale de Venezia
  • Mitacs
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
  • Pierre Lassonde Family Foundation
  • Stimuleringsfonds
  • Toronto Arts Council
  • University of Waterloo School of Architecture