Besides the national pavilion, designed by architect Alvar Aalto in 1956, Finland participates in the Nordic Pavilion alongside Norway and Sweden. The two pavilions of Finland – national Alvar Aalto Pavilion and the Nordic Pavilion – are located in the heart of the historical biennale park, Giardini di Castello.


Alvar Aalto Pavilion of Finland


The Finnish Pavilion was designed by renowned Finnish architect Alvar Aalto (1898–1976) in 1956, which makes it a historically and culturally prestigious pavilion building.

In 1955 Aalto undertook to design a small pavilion for Finnish exhibits at the biennial international art exhibitions. He designed a wedge-shaped structure to be assembled of light, dismountable wall and roof units made in Finland and transported to Italy. The idea was that it could be dismantled and stored between exhibitions or re-erected on another site. Owing to errors in production, however, it has remained immovably in place since the summer of 1956.

Restored in 1990, it is now used by the Biennale for temporary exhibitions. It consists exclusively of an exhibition room of some 100 square metres, and is lighted by a system of longitudinal ‘lock’ skylights, which Aalto tried out here for the first time. The dark blue wooden wall units are supported from outside by large triangles painted white for contrast. From 1962 through 2007 the pavilion was rented to other countries: Italy, Argentina, Portugal, and most recently Iceland. Since 2007, with the support from the Finnish Ministry of Culture, similarly as in the first years 1956–1960 of the pavilion, it has been used for exhibit Finnish artists as part of the biennale programme.

Source: Alvar Aalto Foundation.

For the images of the Alvar Aalto Pavilion of Finland, please visit our image bank.


The Nordic Pavilion

nordic-pavilion_photo-Ugo Carmeni

In 1958 Norwegian architect Sverre Fehn (1924–2009) won the competition to design the Nordic Pavilion for the Venice Biennial. Built on a plot between the pavilions of the United States and Denmark, it is situated in the Biennale grounds at Giardini in Venice.

The building was completed in 1962 and has since been a space for collaboration between three nations – Sweden, Finland and Norway. From 1962 till 2009 Finnish artists were exhibited in the Nordic Pavilion for Aalto pavilion being rented out to other countries. For the last three biennials of 2011, 2013 and 2015, a format was developed which involved the solo commissioning by each country of a project. For the period 2017–2021 the agreement entailing that all three countries are represented on equal terms is resumed.


Photos: Ugo Carmeni