Hacin Brings a Snapshot of Beantown Life to Venice

After more than three years of isolation, the firm jumped at the chance to participate in the European Cultural Center’s exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale, elevating everyday Boston life to fine art in the process.

Hacin's "Resonance" exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale.

For more than a decade, the European Cultural Center’s “Time, Space, Existence” exhibition has invited architects to explore their work’s relationship with the show’s title themes at the Venice Architecture Biennale. This year, the organization has selected Palazzo Bembo, Palazzo Mora and Marinaressa Gardens to host an international roster of architecture talent. An invitation to participate led Hacin, now in its 30th year of practice as the homegrown firm behind some of Boston’s top bars, restaurants, and residences, to create a window into the city for a global audience. 

To accomplish this, the firm took a page from the fine art world, revisiting some of their greatest hits with a curatorial perspective. “We asked ourselves, ‘What is existence in space or time without capturing the feeling of what it’s like to be somewhere in a moment?” recalls visual identity designer Emily Neumann. “What’s the best way to demonstrate that experience—is there more than a photo, video, or multimedia?”

Asking those questions led the team to “Resonance,” an exhibition that explores how video, photos, soundscapes, and texts can immerse viewers in the daily life of Bostonians. Special emphasis is given to the firm’s former projects, such as a family residence in the Back Bay neighborhood, a hotel in Beacon Hill, and even Hacin’s own South End studio, which are shown with all of everyday life’s cacophonous sounds and interruptions. “There’s so much more to these places than a single snapshot in time,” Katie Dayton says of relying solely on stunning photography to evoke a sense of place.

Curatorial texts, accompanied by a map of Boston landmarks, attempt to articulate what even the best-composed staging photography cannot. “Even trying to get closer to the true experience falls short of reality,” says David Hacin. Getting off your phone, he says, is a start. 

Below, see a preview of the exhibition.

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