Building with air

At the time of building with EFTE, architecture seems to have left behind the density of the brutalism and heaviness of concrete. There are countless projects that speak this new language in which, through the use of some or other materials, buildings seem to be endangered by the efforts that the wind could exert.

The obsession with blurring the limit, has led us to blur the walls to turn them into elements stacked no longer on top of each other. Now they are elements that are stacked on the limits of space, as if a “big bang” in the interior of the room had displaced all the material to form now some façades, floors and ceilings that remain weightless, floating, moving slowly at the same rhythm as the stars change in relation to our longevity.

The materials lose their coherence, they contradict the ideas to which they were associated in our minds: density, monolithism, stability… This displacement and new way of placing the elements leads us to consider the reality of these concepts.

How to fill a room with air

Let us imagine for a moment that we are faced with the following situation in our studio. A peculiar client has come to see us with an assignment that is very important to him. At the moment of describing it to us he does it with the following words. –I would like you to fill the room of my house with air – Meanwhile, instantly in our mind the following answer is formulated. –But dear client, your room is already full of air.-To what he would say.-Yes, yes, but what I want is to feel it, to observe it, i want it to really occupy that space.

With this revealing conversation the night would come, and to many of us, such a request would take away our sleep because of how interesting it is. In this context we ask ourselves, has anyone already faced this problem? Yes! Of course someone has. Once again the world of art appears to rescue us.

Reverse of Volume.

We could understand the commission in the same way that Onishi Yasuaki did in his installation “Reverse of Volume”, where he experiments with generating a vacuum through the use of plastic cloths that are hung, containing the space. However, this form of interpretation does not seem to convince our client. It is not exaggerated enough, and he thinks that this work emphasizes space, emptiness, the absence of material. He looks at us with distrust in his eyes while insisting –I want that air to be noticeable. One more night, we return to our cot with the uncertainty of whether we will fall asleep in the face of such an original commission. In the series of artists who have struggled with this concept, another one appears, perhaps this one will manage to save us?

This time it’s Ryuji Nakamura with “Cornfield” who gives us the clue as to how to act. His work? A little paper, a little less glue, and a big space to “fill” with air. Reminiscent of a cornfield, the artist elaborates a three-dimensional paper structure that is capable of containing that air. Unlike “Reverse of Volume”, in this work the air is not only contained and properly marked, it also becomes an obstacle. Is it the paper that prevents us from passing, or is it the air for having been wrapped? (We would like to say that our imaginary client was satisfied once we proposed a performance that followed this form of interpretation of the problem).

The journey back

To borrow the words and thesis of our dear Antonio, we would like to make a small appeal to our own. Perhaps it was a mistake to go to Asia looking for artists who have tried to understand the meaning of space, emptiness, and to represent it through installations. Are we not closer to architectures that are capable of unraveling these mysteries, even if they did so without this objective?

This is what we were looking for! A space that oozes contemporaneity, order. A space that breathes, made by air. How did we not realize before that, with a critical and affectionate look, we could rescue the ruins of our productive past to turn them into tools of creation at the service of contemporary space?

All that remains is to observe the past, to learn. To interpret. Perhaps the mistake was not realizing before that it is not necessary to go so far building with air.

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