On a recent trip to Venice, I visited the art of the Francois Pinault collection in the Punta Della Dogana. Although this is a massive and impressive contemporary art collection, I was particularly interested in viewing the building to see the architecture of Japanese architect Tadao Ando. The building, which literally translates to "Point of the Customs", was for centuries, Venice's custom house and is located on the triangular section where the Grand Canal meets the Guidecca Canal, next to the church of Santa Maria Salute.
Opened as art gallery since 2009, the refurbishment spectacularly strikes a balance between simplicity and complexity in this ancient space. Filtered light and well placed volumistic voids, for which Ando is well known, are used to create a incredibly serene mood. The gallery feels almost monastic. The limited palate of materials - timber, brick, concrete and glass, places reverence on the art works contained within. It is a very considered refurbishment of the space which highlights its past whilst focusing on the future - quite magical and I feel privileged to have enjoyed it for a few hours. Inspirational architecture at its very best.