Fluidity

The purpose of the architectural renderings is to make a design look really good, even if that means stretching reality a bit.

Fluidity

But for once, this built installation improves on its rendering. It's striking, dynamic, well-lit, and both complicatedly and solidly constructed.

Fluidity

The project by GGLab was originally designed and built for a ceramics trade show in Milan. It features a nuanced approach to tectonics, something most larger structures fail to do in a convincing way.

Fluidity

Here, the undulating, wave-like structure is seen in its original context...

Fluidity

...in the middle of a large conference hall.

Fluidity

The pavilion's structure consists of a triple-layered wall, with a wood-lattice frame at its core.

Fluidity

The exterior ceramic cladding is affixed to this base and overlaid, resembling fish scales.

Fluidity

The undersides of the twin coves are animated by a vortex-like pattern, which is painted on wood poles that line the space.

Fluidity

The curving shells meet the floor in an interesting manner and lock into the patterned base. Moulded fins rising from the floor (that function as seating) complete the illusion.

This Dramatic Building Is In Perpetual Flux

With "Fluidity," Madrid-based GGLab not only rendered a sinuous structure. They also manged to build it.

Sure, architectural renderings are meant to accurately convey what an as-yet-to-be built project will look like when built. But they also serve as sales tools. In order to best showcase the virtues of a design, rendering artists can take conspicuous departures from reality—introducing dramatic streaks of sunlight that frame a building, strikingly good-looking people hanging out in the courtyard, an extra bit of shimmer on the curve of a facade.

It can be a rare surprise, then, when the completed structure manages to outdo the rendering, as is the case with "Fluidity," a curving, serpentine installation by Madrid-based Green Geometries Lab (GGLab). The finished project, in Valencia, Spain, makes better on the sculptural flourishes that were originally promised, before it was built for a ceramics trade show in Milan.

Image: Courtesy of gglab + Paulo Flores

The installation stands on a plan that resembles a skewed outline of a stomach. Two coiled enclaves are poised like quotation marks on either side of a sinusoidal path. Molded seats rise organically from the striated floorboards, and the shell-like coves are animated by colorful anamorphic patterns. As the project name implies, all seems in flux, just as it will be in the "public space of the future," the architects write, which will be varied and "composed of elements which interact with one another through the use of diverse materials and various building systems."

Image: Courtesy of gglab + Paulo Flores

"Fluidity" is thus presented as a fragment of tomorrow’s shape-shifting, interactive architecture. But peek beneath the surface, and the substructure is decidedly less futuristic. A curved wood frame supports the installation’s outer skin of overlapping fish scale-like ceramic tiles. The wooden undercarriage underscores the level of tectonics articulated in the installation's three-layer design: outer ceramics and brightly colored, bent poles sandwich the timber layer. The floor treatment adds a further dimension.

The result is surprisingly dynamic. When built architecture can best its virtual doppelgänger, it's nothing short of satisfying.

[Image: Courtesy of gglab + Paulo Flores]

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