A single, pink, 90-metre-long wall zigzagging across Garagem Sul’s gallery defines a variety of spaces used to present At Play, the Lisbon iteration of an exhibition originally presented at CIVA in Brussels.
The design follows David Malaud’s leitmotif of playfulness as a way for children and architects alike to imagine and create worlds. Garagem Sul, the Lisbon exhibition premises, is literally a former parking facility. The wall’s structure varies according to the exhibition four main concepts, concepts governing the way a child’s perception of the world develops through play: body consciousness, language, memory, and abstract thought.
The layout is a clash between the memory of the forms built in Brussels and Lisbon’s concrete column grid. More columns were added to the existing ones, with the new ones tilted, rotated, and broken to disrupt their former Cartesian order, while serving to mark the main entrance, close a passage, or show visitors their way out. The space is populated by further objects and shapes sampled from various references. There is a scaled version of VSBA’s “ghost buildings” in Franklin Court in Philadelphia housing a collection of models by contemporary Portuguese architects, a cut-out passage as the cartoon-like explosion of This is not a love song by Didier Faustino, and niches mimicking Aldo Rossi’s beach cabin, the original of which is on display in the same room. There is also a circular sandpit and table with wooden building blocks to cater to younger visitors of all ages.
Little or no paint was used to create this colourful environment. The walls are pink, their colour derived from the use of bare fireproof plasterboard; the green objects (fake columns, display cases, plinths, and other custom-designed elements) are made out of water-resistant MDF. Both the pasteboard and the exposed metal frames have a minimum number of cuts and were used in their original factory dimensions to enable them to be easily disassembled and reused.
The exhibition Archaeological Fragments of Portuguese Architecture is presented in parallel to the main exhibition, enclosed by a light-blue curtain suspended from the ceiling. It is built using elements recycled from previous shows—the curtain itself and a long, white powder-coated steel table—which are reorganized to generate a new experience for the visitor. Both the contents and the resulting scenario benefit from the original assemblage of existing elements.
Curator: David Malaud
Lisbon Iteration: Nikolaus Hirsch, Cedric Libert, André Tavares, Ivo Poças Martins
Exhibition display: Ivo Poças Martins
Total surface: 1500 sqm
28th Sep 2021 - 30th Jan 2022
(C) Tiago Casanova
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