The Pool: Architecture, Culture and Identity, curated by Sydney-based Isabelle Toland and Amelia Holliday of Aileen Sage Architects with Michelle Tabet, premiered at the Venice Architecture Biennale last year, reaching over 100,000 visitors.
Now safely transported and re-installed in Melbourne’s CBD (no mean feat!), the exhibition is an interactive, multi-sensory installation of water, light, scent and sound. Visitors are invited to lounge on the wooden decking, dip their toes in the water and even have a splash! Meanwhile, a soundscape featuring the voices of prominent Australians – including writers Anna Funder and Christos Tsiolkas, Olympians Ian Thorpe and Shane Gould, musician Paul Kelly, Indigenous art curator Hetti Perkins, Environmentalist Tim Flannery, and designers Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales of Romance Was Born – reveals personal reflections on the cultural importance of the iconic Australian pool.
‘The Pool’ explores the social, cultural and historical significance of pools in Australia,’ explains co-curator Amelia Holliday. ‘From the spiritual significance of natural pools that have been revered and respected over 60,000 years of culture, through to constructed pools: on the coast, in the city, in the middle of the desert, and those proposed for the near future.’
Housed right on the edge of Flinders Street, with natural light streaming in, The Pool will look out onto the traffic and buzz of central Melbourne. ‘Visitors can either tune in to the voices in the space and what they have to say, or just tune out and enjoy a moment relaxing by the water,’ Amelia explains. ‘Something we are very passionate about, as architects, is to ensure that architecture and design is seen and discussed in the broader context of culture and the environment. “The Pool” is a project about place and people, and how architecture fits within that.’