Award-Winning Bay Area Firm Introduces 2nd Century Modernism in Venice, Italy

Form4 Architecture Stirs Debate With Installation and Book Coinciding With Venice Biennale

Form4 Architecture’s exhibition at “Time-Space-Existence” introduces the concept of 2nd Century Modernism. The Absurdity of Beauty opens the debate on architecture’s future. Images courtesy of Form4 Architecture. Click here for high-resolution images.

VENICE, Italy: John Marx, AIA, Co-Founding Principal and Chief Creative Officer of San Francisco-based Form4 Architecture, has been invited by the Global Art Affairs (GAA) Foundation, a Dutch non-profit organization, to participate in an exhibition coinciding with the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. His exhibition at “Time-Space-Existence” introduces a manifesto on “2nd Century Modernism,” a response to failings in the vaunted architectural movement. “Balancing the rational with the intuitive to create an architecture of abundance, richness, and community is what 2nd Century Modernism explores,” says Marx. “It promotes a creative response to the enormous spectrum of human possibilities.”

Organized by the GAA Foundation and hosted by the European Cultural Centre, “Time-Space-Existence” brings together an international roster of architecture and design firms, along with respected research universities. Marx joins a distinguished list of international participants, including renowned talents Daniel Libeskind, Odile Decq, Kengo Kuma, and Fumiko Maki, among others. The exhibition is open to the public May 26-November 25, 2018, at the Palazzo Mora, Palazzo Bembo, and Giardini Marinaressa.

The Marx exhibition—located at the Palazzo Mora—blends visual timelines, poetic texts, and project designs that showcase the spirit and lyrical nature of the firm’s work. “As a firm, we aim to explore fluid dynamics in architecture while providing work that is contextually relevant, humane, and moving,” says Marx. “This poetic installation expresses our design philosophy and resonates with those who struggle to give creative clarity to themselves and others.”

To coincide with the exhibition, the firm will debut its monographic work, The Absurdity of Beauty: Rebalancing the Modernist Narrative, published in partnership with Emap. Questions raised concern cultural vibrancy, “wild civility,” rethinking Silicon Valley architecture, crusading against Notopia, and the architect as calligrapher. Contributing writers include Marx himself, as well as Pierluigi Serraino, Paul Finch, Catherine Slessor, Ian Ritchie, Sam Lubell, Richard England, Jay Merrick, Jeremy Melvin, and Paul Ferro.

“The Absurdity of Beauty is conceived not simply as an exploration of Form4 Architecture’s diverse body of work,” notes the editors, “but as an investigation into‎ how the narrative of Modernism, which shaped design culture for the last century, can be rebalanced to instigate a new and humanly responsive era of architecture and urbanism.”

Form4 Architecture was recently awarded the 2017 American Prize for Architecture by The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies. Also known as The Louis H. Sullivan Award, the American Prize for Architecture is bestowed upon outstanding practitioners in the US that have demonstrated consistent contributions to humanity through the built environment and the art of architecture. This acclaim adds to the more than 145 international design accolades won by the firm to date.

Form4 Architecture believes architecture is the art of giving form to ideas. The award-winning firm specializes in creating environments, whether for tech offices, mixed-use developments, or residences, that respond as equally to the topography of a site as they do to the people they serve. Winner of the 2017 American Prize for Architecture, Form4 creates formal expressions that are not only poetically moving and conceptually thoughtful, but also reflective of the client’s values and goals. As collaborative partners in the design process, the principals of Form4 Architecture—Robert J. Giannini, John Marx, AIA, Paul Ferro, AIA, and James Tefend—are personally involved with every project from concept to completion, bringing the collective wealth of years of expertise and knowledge to each client’s vision. Since 1998, the firm has built a rich portfolio of award-winning work for national and international clients within diverse market sectors.