Everything is connected. Pipes, tubes, wires and cables transfer physical and digital matter through vast infrastructural networks. These elements span cities, landscapes, continents and are often out in the open but when followed lead to no beginning or end, abruptly vanishing behind walls, into the ground or connecting to circuits and subsumed into a large whole. They have the characteristic of being ubiquitous while disappearing in plain view; they are everywhere and nowhere. The language of excess, fluidity, connectivity and transmission, are rendered in this space through the use of three materials: tubes, lights, metal. Lining the walls, ceiling and parts of the floor, visitors are immersed by the machine-like organs and red glow; all of which are familiar and at the same time alien.
The temporary installation was built in February 2022 on the occasion of the Urvanity Art Fair, dedicated to a new contemporary art that is held every year at the College of Architects of Madrid (COAM), and performed the dual function of presentation/conference space for public talks as well as a social gathering space with a small bar. While the physical space served as a central gathering point to connect people and ideas, the talks were also live streamed online to allow for remote access. The inspiration for the installation came after having visited a few construction sites where the same kind of tubes were seen in different circumstances such as partially submerged in the ground, or running along the side of a large wall. This extends one of the office's interest in finding new or slightly different ways of utilizing industrialized materials.
The project aims to tackle issues surrounding temporary installations and the construction industry's waste as well as people's appreciation for certain aspects of the built environment. The primary material used for the installation was the corrugated tubing which is used to protect electrical wires, things everyone needs and values but at the same time is visually unappreciated and thus hidden underground. They are indeed the aesthetic rejects of what most people experience as architecture. By foregrounding them as the elements that allow our contemporary urban and rural lives to seamlessly operate, visitors are met with an element they usually do not care to see.
As the project was sponsored by the Spanish beer company Mahou, the iconic red color of their brand unapologetically bathes the entirety of the room to provide an immersive experience.
The thought was to fully transform the atmosphere of the room while still giving the room a sense of presence or personality– allowing it to become the backdrop of the event, but also sometimes foregrounded. The existing spatial organization comprises three large columns and four walls with entrances on opposite ends. The spaces were essentially further defined by the bundling of tubes in certain areas and their hanging height, delineating the various bits of program such as central seating area, bar area, and the lounge corner. The festival lasts four days, meaning the installation had to be able to be mounted quickly and ephemerally. As it occupies the room of an existing building, it should also leave no trace behind. Thus, a non-invasive strategy made up of clamps and straps was used to attach to the existing ribbed slab and columns from which the PVC tubes were either suspended or fastened.
After the four-day installation was completed the tubes were donated to a small construction company in a small town nearby, where they have already resumed their traditional role as protection for electrical cables. We hope to see the various rejects around our daily lives, in all their forms, be welcomed and appreciated into the everyday.