Laguna Viva


Laguna Viva [Living Lagoon] is a new free to access permanent saltmarsh garden at the Palazzo delle Zattere in the Sestiere di Dorsoduro in Venice designed in collaboration with We Are Here Venice.

© Marco Cappelletti

© Marco Cappelletti

The garden is the first part of a long-term strategy to enable Palazzo delle Zattere to engage with the complexities of everyday life in Venice. The strategy was developed by Assemble and We Are Here Venice for the V-A-C Foundation in 2017.

The garden is designed to enhance the on-going conversation about the intimate and mutually dependent relationship between Venice and its context.It is composed of a series of tiled tanks that house a typical example of the Venetian Lagoon’s saltmarsh habitat, arranged according to botanical associations and the morphology of the lagoon.

© Marco Cappelletti

Inspired by the generosity and richness of Venetian floors, the 12,000 tiles were made using an adapted version of 19th Century British encaustic tile-making techniques, introducing a moment of chance into the processes to make every tile different. The tiles were developed and made by Granby Workshop. They were installed temporarily in the Central Pavilion at the 16thArchitecture Biennale before being permanently relocated to the Palazzo.

The Lagoon tanks build on the successful experiment by Jane da Mosto with muf art/architecture for the British Pavilion at the 12th Architecture Biennale. The garden is accessible to visitors to the foundation, artists and local residents. The tanks are microcosms of the wider lagoon and offera resource for research and teaching on ecological resilience and the natural systems that underpin the survival of the city. 

The project has been delivered in collaboration with horticulturalists Lorenzo Bonometto and Filippo de Sero, Venetian Architects APML, lighting designers Michael Grubb Studio, Environmental Engineers Studio Grava and Structural Engineer Beppi Mazzon, with support and advice from muf art/architecture, Valentine Clays and Barbara Pastor.