Tuesday, 10 March 2015

ARCOMadrid 2015

My visit to ARCO, Madrid's contemporary art fair, happens at a time when I am designing 2,000 dollar homes and just returned from a brainstorming session on it in Africa. In this context, it feels rather difficult to appreciate any dispensable object that carries the same price tag as hundred homes. This said, art isn't that inessential. It has an extraordinary effect on the soul and the artworks at this year's edition did certainly meet the purpose. Here is a selection of my favourites. 

Friday, 13 June 2014

The Colours of Panama

The first thing you learn in Panama is that water is the country's main resource and that a cloudy sky is an essential and non-negotiable part of it. In spite of this, or possibly because of it, everything under that grey sky seems to be wonderfully tinted. Buildings being no exception. The colour palettes are endless (primary, colonial, pastel...) and the quirky colour combinations, something you can't help loving.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

The Spanish Colonial City : the Planned Town at its Best

In a span of two centuries America saw the foundation of the largest number of cities ever established in such a short period of time: 200 new cities between 1500 and 1573 and over a thousand by the end of the colonial period.

From the six European countries involved in the American venture - namely Spain, Portugal, France, England, Denmark and Holland - only Spain felt the importance of trading from organized communities and created a set of planning guidelines to consider when building the new cities. Amazing to see how those guidelines fully align with today's vision of sustainable urban development...

Monday, 3 March 2014

Teresa Margollés: Testing Building's Memories

This Property Won't Be Demolished by Teresa Margollés
What do you do when 115,000 homes are left behind? Mexican artist Teresa Margollés explores the phenomenon of Ciudad Juárez, the border city that saw 220,000 residents displaced by violence in 2010.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

ARCOMadrid 2014

Oasis at El País

The 33rd edition of ARCO, Madrid's contemporary art fair, offers in 2014 an experience worked around its visitors. There is an oasis for charging phones, a food court arranged as a German Biergarten with live DJ sessions, an open TV set and a radio station. What used to happen behind closed doors, plays now finally in the open. Lovely art as well. Here is a selection...

Monday, 17 February 2014

10 Great Things About Rocinha, Rio's Notorious Favela

There is something special about Rocinha, the dense informal neighbourhood in Rio's South Zone. Newcomers keep arriving and long term residents don't move out despite the infrastructure shortcomings and the security issues of the place. Its convenient location and cheaper rents could explain the phenomenon but there are surely more reasons to add. Personally, I find Rocinha deeply moving and after a closer look, I came out with a few reasons why... 

Thursday, 30 January 2014

The Multipurpose Cable Car of Rio's Largest Favela

The Complexo do Alemão, a 300ha sprawling neighbourhood in Rio's North Zone, has since July 2011 an additional transport system: a cable car that links 5 of its hills. The system, already used for connecting communities in Medellín and Caracas, is the new black among city planners. But does it work for the community? I went to the Complexo do Alemão to find out... 

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

In Orbit by Tomás Saraceno: Wonderful Space Above a Museum Court

© Studio Tomás Saraceno

Tomás Saraceno's floating spaces are growing in scale and impact. Wonderful this spider web at the K21 Ständehaus in Düsseldorf on show till next year and his cloud cities project...

Friday, 5 July 2013

Aten Reign: James Turrell's New Space at the Guggenheim New York

A new piece by James Turrell - the L.A.-born master of light and perception - reshapes the rotunda of Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim. Aten Reign, the site-specific installation and the centre piece of the artist's solo show that opened on the summer solstice, modifies the daylight from the skylight with a series of concentric ellipses that glow in shifting colours...