Caravane Earth

The Majlis

La Biennale di Venezia

17th International Architecture Exhibition
22 May - 21 November 2021
Abbey and Garden of San Giorgio Maggiore

The Majlis by Caravane was designed and constructed by architects Simón Vélez and Stefana Simić in Colombia, in collaboration with Ahmed Chmitti and the Boujad Women’s Weaving Collective in Morocco. The Majlis is 100% handmade on two different continents, using bamboo and wool, two of the most renewable materials on earth. It will be assembled for the first time at the Abbey of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, in a wildflower garden planted by the landscape architect Todd Longstaffe-Gowan.

In 2015 UNESCO inscribed the majlis on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as a social and cultural space. More than the sum of the physical walls of an architectural entity, the majlis is where culture is passed down from one generation to the next, where leaders counsel on community matters and where guests are greeted with open hearts. There is an Arab proverb, “Al Majlis, Madrasa” which means “The Majlis is a school”. In Venice, Caravane Earth's Majlis will be a space for storytelling, symposia and exchange, all in an effort to answer the question posed by 2021 Biennale di Venezia Curator Hashim Sarkis: How will we live together?


The Venice Biennale is the most influential global art and architecture exhibition with more than 60 participating countries and 275,000 visitors annually. The 17th International Architecture Exhibition will be open from 22 May to 21 November, 2021.
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Caravane Earth is a foundation with a mission to seed, practice and promote ethical entrepreneurship and wellbeing through art, craft, architecture, agriculture, and education. We work towards positive systemic impact in social, cultural, and ecological realms.
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The Majlis Exhibition is held in collaboration with the monks of the Abbazia di San Giorgio as part of the cultural activities of the non-profit Benedicti Claustra. The organisation fosters the exchange of ideas and spiritual and cultural dialogue between the monastic community, artists and visitors to the Abbey, as well as the restoration of the monumental Palladian complex on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. Caravane Earth Foundation is contributing a donation to the Benedicti Claustra Onlus.
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Dr Thierry Morel
Simón Vélez
Majlis Architect
Stefana Simić
Co-Architect of The Majlis
Ahmed Chmiti
Exterior Fabric Design & Production

Honorary Committee

Chair of the Honorary Committee
Chairperson, Qatar Museums
Professor Deborah Howard
Professor Emerita of Architectural History, University of Cambridge;
Trustee, Venice in Peril Foundation;
Former Fellow, Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, Harvard University
Professor Antonio Foscari
Professor of Art History, University of Venice; Architect; Commendatore al Merito of the Italian Republic;
Member of Légion d’Honneur of the French Republic;
Former President of the Academy of Fine Arts of Venice; Former member of Conseil d’Administration du Musée du Louvre, Paris
Hashmia Douiri
The most senior member of the Ain Leuh women’s weaving cooperative, founded in Morocco in 1977. Along with twenty-three other women she hand-produced the central carpet in the Majlis
The Earl of Snowdon
Honorary Chairman, Christie’s UK, Europe and the Middle East
Craftsman and founder, Linley
Paul Ahmed Keeler
Visiting Fellow, Centre of Islamic Studies, University of Cambridge; author, Rethinking Islam & the West.
Mr Alaoui Ouajid Moulay Said
President & Founder, Le Grand Musée de Marrakech; President & Founder of Foundation Ouajid G; CEO, Heritage Tourism Research - HTS Morocco

To discuss partnerships and sponsorship opportunities please contact:
Johnny Cornwell