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Lamp participates in the Ramon Llull Institute’s Air Project in the Venice Biennale

For several years, Lamp has been working with the Ramon Llull Institute and participating in the International Venice Architecture Biennale event, as one of the sponsors and representatives of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands.

The Ramon Llull Institute, an institution devoted to the promotion of the Catalan language and culture, is responsible for the choice and implementation of the project to be displayed in the exhibition hall, Catalonia in Venice, where Catalonia will be exhibiting at the Venice Architecture Biennale. The air/aria/aire project, developed by architect Olga Subirós, was chosen to represent Catalonia's participation in the Biennale on this occasion.

Biennale Architettura 2021 di Venezia

The 17th edition of the International Architecture Exhibition, originally scheduled to open in May 2020, has been rescheduled and will finally open its doors from 22 May until 21 November 2021.

This year, the Architecture Biennale has been commissioned by architect Hashim Sarkis, known for his work in architecture and also teaching, as dean of the Department of Architecture and Planning at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

The theme chosen by Hashim Sarkis for this 17th edition is: "How shall we live together?", a question that not only refers to physical space, but which also has a social and political dimension. As Sarkis himself states in this edition’s manifesto, "this year's projects aim to provide solutions, through urban planning and architecture, for the challenges we face in a society that is becoming increasingly polarised, in which social inequalities are growing and the climate crisis has become a serious global problem.”

The Architecture Biennale offers alternatives to this reality, based on the premise of a change of approach that will allow us to live together in a sustainable way, respecting one another and respecting the environment itself. In order to respond to the question posed by the Venice Biennale in this event, 63 countries have submitted proposals, and, in addition to the exhibition on show in the Giardini and Arsenale precinct, other parallel events and activities will also be held.

The air/aria/aire project

At each edition of the Venice Biennale, the Ramon Llull Institute selects a project to represent Catalonia. On this occasion, it was Olga Subirós, the architect and curator of exhibition projects, who won the competition with a project that focuses on air pollution in Barcelona.

This was already a serious problem in our cities due to the global climate crisis, but the pandemic has made it even more relevant. According to the World Health Organisation, air pollution causes around 7 million deaths worldwide each year, 400,000 of them in Europe. However, this problem has never been tackled with the seriousness it deserves, and this is something we hope will change, and which the air/aria/air project aims to raise awareness of.

The Air project is set in the context of both a climate and health crisis, and aims to provide solutions to these crises through research on air pollution and its effect on the people of this planet.

To carry out this research, Subirós worked with the 300,000 km/s Urban Planning Study, directed by Mar Santamaría and Pablo Martínez. Through the analysis of macro and micro data in different areas of the city, they were able to provide cartographic evidence of the impact of air pollution in Barcelona and establish measures to combat it. This study’s uniqueness lies in the fact that the data they took into account didn’t only pertain to urban planning, but also to social, economic, mobility, and health issues. The results of the 300,000 km/s research show that, as with the health crisis, there is great inequality in how air pollution affects people.

The Air project proposes rethinking the city model and does so by putting forward 12 measures that include reviewing the mobility model in cities, reducing traffic in cities, expanding green spaces, reducing saturated spaces, reducing the heat island effect, and promoting the renovation of buildings, among others.

The lighting concept

The exhibition in Venice presents an immersive audiovisual installation: the space is delimited by two walls suspended from the roof structure and separated from the floor. There is a multi-projection on each outer wall, and the space between the two walls is the only one that receives direct lighting, thanks to Lamp's lighting systems.

The concept was to establish lighting with a high scenographic component, an effect that has been achieved, thanks to fifteen of Lamp's Hance projectors with elliptical optics, creating what is, in effect, a box of light containing bright illumination in the middle of a large, completely dark area where the audiovisual projections will take place.

In this way, two clear, highly contrasted spaces are created, offering visitors an immersive experience that demonstrates the reality of air pollution through a multi-sensorial installation, with different visualisations and sounds. The singer and composer Maria Arnal, together with the composer and DJ John Talabot, have been in charge of creating the sounds to represent the invisible reality of air pollution.

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