Cheetah Plains: A Modernist Marvel at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2023

A stone walkway with a tree in the background at Cheetah Plains.

The Venice Architecture Biennale, a prestigious event that gathers the world’s leading architects and designers, has always been a platform for showcasing groundbreaking projects. This year, the spotlight is on an extraordinary project from the South African Lowveld: Cheetah Plains. Presented by SAOTA, ARRCC, and Poliform, this luxury safari lodge is not just another architectural marvel, but a testament to sustainable and innovative design.

A swimming pool with lounge chairs and a fire pit at Cheetah Plains: A Modernist Marvel.
A swimming pool with lounge chairs and a fire pit at Cheetah Plains: A Modernist Marvel.
A large table and chairs in a modern living room.
A large table and chairs in a modern living room.

The Exhibition: LIGHT SPACE LIFE

A modernist sign at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2023.
A modernist sign at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2023.
A building in Venice, Italy showcased at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2023.
A building in Venice, Italy showcased at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2023.
A room with a large screen showing the ocean at Cheetah Plains: A Modernist Marvel.
A room with a large screen showing the ocean at Cheetah Plains: A Modernist Marvel.
Keywords: Modernist Marvel, Venice Architecture Biennale
Modernist Marvel, Venice Architecture Biennale
  • Organizers: SAOTA, ARRCC & Poliform
  • Event: Sixth edition of the architecture biennale exhibition titled Time Space Existence
  • Host: European Cultural Centre in Venice

The title “LIGHT SPACE LIFE” encapsulates the essence of the exhibition. It delves deep into the intricate relationship between architecture, nature, and human existence. The exhibition aims to explore how architectural designs can enhance our connection with the natural world, creating spaces that are not just functional but also spiritually uplifting.

Cheetah Plains: A Deep Dive

Cheetah Plains: A modern house with a wooden walkway and a stone statue presented at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2023.
Cheetah Plains: A modern house with a wooden walkway and a stone statue presented at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2023.

Nestled in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, adjacent to the globally acclaimed Kruger National Park, Cheetah Plains stands out for several reasons:

  • Modernist Sensibility: The design ethos is contemporary, breaking away from traditional safari lodge designs.
  • Raw Materiality: The use of natural, raw materials not only gives it an authentic feel but also ensures sustainability.
  • Carbon-Negative Operation: In an era where sustainability is paramount, Cheetah Plains leads by example, operating in a manner that is not just carbon-neutral but carbon-negative.
A pool with lounge chairs and a fire pit at dusk at Cheetah Plains.
A pool with lounge chairs and a fire pit at dusk at Cheetah Plains.

SAOTA Principal and Founder, Stefan Antoni, sheds light on the design philosophy, stating, “The design explores the creative tension between our contemporary human existence and the raw, primal natural world. Through the architecture and interior design, we strive to forge connections and contrasts that enable profound and meaningful encounters with nature.”

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Creative Homes Built Around Trees

Jon Case, ARRCC Director, adds, “The buildings and interiors are consciously restrained but layered in form, detail, and materiality. They create a sensory platform to experience the African bush in its purest form.”

Palazzo Bembo: The Hosting Marvel

Since its inauguration in May, Palazzo Bembo has welcomed over 250,000 visitors. This historic venue adds to the allure of the exhibition. The video wall at the exhibition offers an immersive experience, allowing visitors to virtually step into Cheetah Plains and explore the concepts of LIGHT, SPACE, and LIFE.

Exhibition Details

  • Duration: Until 26 November 2023, 10:00 – 18:00 (closed on Tuesdays)
  • Location: Room C11, Palazzo Bembo, Riva del Carbon, Venezia, Italy
  • Social Media Handles:

Key Takeaways

  • Cheetah Plains, presented at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2023, is a modernist marvel that emphasizes sustainable design.
  • The exhibition, titled LIGHT SPACE LIFE, explores the relationship between architecture, nature, and human existence.
  • The design of Cheetah Plains is a blend of modern sensibilities, raw materiality, and a commitment to sustainability.
  • Palazzo Bembo, the hosting venue, has already seen an overwhelming number of visitors, indicating the exhibition’s success.

Conclusion

Cheetah Plains is not just an architectural project; it’s a statement on how design can harmoniously blend with nature, offering experiences that are both luxurious and sustainable. The Venice Architecture Biennale 2023 provides the perfect platform for such a project, encouraging visitors and readers alike to explore and perhaps even implement some of these design philosophies in their own spaces.

For those interested in delving deeper into architectural marvels and sustainable designs, the Venice Architecture Biennale 2023 is an event not to be missed. And for those who can’t make it, following the mentioned social media handles will offer a glimpse into this world of innovative design.

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