Webb Yates Engineers designed a sculptural pavilion for the 2018 Venice Biennale -one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world- in collaboration with Groupwork+Amin Taha and stone masons; Mineral Expertise and Ateliers Romeo. The installation is called "Sheltering Under Marble Skies" and was erected in Giardino della Marinaressa.
Stone was laminated with fibre glass to form a kind of stone plywood. The plywood was curved into a 5m x 5m canopy made of cone barrel vaults that taper along 5m from 1.5m to 0.5m and 25mm thick. The arches were cut vertically to echo the palazzos facing the Grand Canal and left elongated and tapered to drift informally into the canopy of trees within the park.
The installation investigates new and innovative fabrication methods, with a design ambition to create an installation of exceptional longevity, inherent strength and beauty and a low carbon footprint. The sculpture demonstrated the material’s potential to provide faster construction with a lower carbon footprint (10% of concrete or steel construction).