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.
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.”
“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.