Rapid assembly furniture for the Scottish Pavillion at the Venice Architecture Biennale, 2008

Paul Kerlaff (Designer)

    Research output: Non-textual formExhibition


    In October 2008, Paul Kerlaff was commissioned by the Lighthouse, Scotland’s centre for Architecture, to design and manufacture furniture for Scotland’s first ever stand-alone pavilion at the 11th International Architecture Biennale. Known as the ‘Gathering Place’, and designed by Gareth Hoskins Architects, the pavilion was situated on the Piazza della Stazione and acted as focal point for meetings and a series of seminars by Charles Jencks and Zaha Hadid.
    The techinique of kerfing (slotting) plywood was adopted as a means of achieving tight radii on a pre-finished panel without the need for formwork or extensive gluing time. Intensive prototyping explored a number of composite laminated panels as possible solutions to the break out of face materials, including fabrics and nylon mesh. Eventually this process produced a Birch plywood core faced with a nitrile cork-rubber more commonly used in the automotive industry. Pre-bonding and pre-finishing enabled rapid assembly to suit the tight deadline and successfully addressed issues such as grain lifting and post assembly finishing that are problematic in small batch production.
    The stools were used throughout the duration of the Biennale and survived transportation by water barge and before being re-housed in Glasgow’s Lighthouse Centre for Architecture and Design. The Gathering Place project was widely documented in publications including Blueprint and DesignBoom and a prominent location in front of Venice’s main train station helped to attract an estimated 300,000 visitors.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2008
    Event11th International Architecture Biennale - Venice, Italy
    Duration: 14 Nov 200823 Nov 2008


    • Architecture
    • Venice
    • Furniture
    • Biennale
    • Kerlaff
    • Paul
    • Stool
    • pavilion


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