Founded in 1995, the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea is Asia’s oldest and most prestigious biennial of contemporary art. To commemorate its 13th edition this spring, Pentagram partner Paula Scher was commissioned to design a transit kiosk for a major thoroughfare in Gwangju. Built of typography, the bus shelter creates a distinctive urban landmark for the international exhibition.
The design consists of two juxtaposed parallelograms joined to create a self-supporting glass structure. The wall and a roof feature “Biennale” and “Gwangju” in extruded letterforms that are locked together to hold the 8-foot-tall kiosk in place. A transparent LED screen runs the length of the shelter and displays information and images.
The initial project timeline was limited and the design came together quickly before the Covid-19 pandemic forced organizers to postpone the Biennale twice from its September 2020 opening date. After submitting their drawings, the Pentagram team lost track of the project during lockdown and assumed it had been suspended until they saw photos of the kiosk on Instagram, designed almost exactly to their specifications. It was installed in time for the Biennale’s opening on April 1, and will remain in place as a public amenity.