Catalonia through 6000 fresnel lenses: RCR Arquitectes present Dream and Nature in Venice

Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta are the three architects behind RCR and are all set to unveil a highly sensory experience at the Catalonian pavilion in Venice: Together with the Institut Ramon Llull the Pritzker-Prize winning architects are presenting a Collateral Event at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia, running from tomorrow Saturday 26th May to 25th November 2018.

Catalonio in Venice RCR Architects 16 © Giuseppe Dall'Arche_23.05.2018 © Giuseppe Dall'Arche_23.05.2018
Catalonio in Venice RCR Architects 16 © Giuseppe Dall’Arche_23.05.2018 © Giuseppe Dall’Arche_23.05.2018

Dream and Nature will utilise more than 6000 optical fresnel lenses to create a visionary dream-like space for the visitor to explore at liberty. Curated by journalist Pati Nunez and architect Estel Ortega along with RCR Arquitectes the pavilion will reveal an unknown side of the architects’ unusual and highly original practice, which they call their most intimate universe. The architects-trio have created a space to research and rethink man’s relationship to the world, located in the La Vila estate in the Bianya Valley (Girona), and it’s this landscape that their project for 16th International Architecture Exhibition is based on.

In the words of RCR Arquitectes:

“In Venice we will present our dream, unknown and unpublished up until now. It’s a key moment in the development of this project, and it’s through architecture that the birth of a utopia under construction, that unveils our interior world, is being represented.” The intention is that “those who visit the space at the Biennale will feel an immense draw to get to know La Vila and to perceive the force of nature, a force that can change you. Our aim is that entering into The Dream becomes a highly sensorial experience.”

Estel Ortega the co-curator adds that

“the museography is intentional; it’s part of the project and its trajectory is not linear. The idea is to provoke the feeling of being inside a dream. You could say it’s like a cave of lights and liquid movement, an immaterial space that allows each person to construct their own unique experience, just like in a dream.”

To access a secret, an ambiguous place, and before getting to the dream, the visitor must first cross over an initial phase, referred to as the Threshold. This is to generate a feeling of entering little by little into a dematerialised space where one doesn’t know exactly where one is, as if falling into a light sleep. Dream and Nature sets out from an intermediary and dynamic space, where the content refers back to RCR’s previous work and it constitutes a presentation and a summary of their trajectory so far. Moving further through the space, the Dream arrives: a more profound state of sleep is evoked. A cave of lights and movement, with a fragmented and mysterious spatial conception, where material from the La Vila project is presented exclusively. La Vila is understood as a destination, an unfinished construction and a life’s work. This interpretation of RCR’s intimate world, its strength and sensuality, is taken to the extreme so that the visitor can move as they like through the space and create their own unique experience. These philosophical concepts the architects define as their Geography of Dreams, and present them through 6000 fresnel lenses that distort reality, that both reflect and fragment the world, that bring you closer and yet further away, in a game that confuses, surprises, envelops, and, lastly, compels the visitor to reflect. It is RCR’s intention to bring the La Vila experience to Venice – an utopia under construction, so that its mark is imprinted onto everyone.

Pati Nunez, co-curator of the project, explains:

“We’re suggesting experimenting with new formats applied to the dissemination of architecture. There are no models or blueprints at the exhibition. The dream in the title refers to the most intimate side of Rafael, Carme and Ramon because their way of understanding the world is what forms the basis of their architecture.”

The Institut Ramon Llull has produced and organised Catalonia’s participation as Collateral Event of La Biennale di Venezia since 2009, and has been present at the Biennale Architettura since 2012. The Institut Ramon Llull is a consortium that comprises the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia), Balearic Islands Government and the Barcelona City Council, and its mission is the promotion of Catalan language and culture abroad.

Catalonia in Venice opens at Cantieri Navali, Castello, 40 Quintavalle, Venice, Italy.
Biennale Architettura 2018 www.labiennale.org/en/architecture/2018/information

About Mark Westall

Mark Westall is the Founder and Editor of FAD magazine, ' A curation of the world’s most interesting culture' [PLUS] Art of Conversation: A tri-annual 'no news paper' AofC - Issue 1 Autumn 2018