Traditionally associated with disciplines such as painting or sculpture, or spaces such as museums or galleries, art has already become much more than all that. Less exclusive and more widespread and approachable, art transcends its mere decorative function and changes the perception of reality, improving the mood, mental health and well-being of those who observe it.
Culture, creativity, emotions, subjectivity or criticism are some of the concepts related to this art that is increasingly present both in the city, with its layout and architecture, as well as in design, fashion and advertising. A type of art that, for five days, has been the star of the 40+1 edition of ARCOmadrid, the Contemporary Art Fair that has allowed artists, galleries, collectors, professionals and the general public to meet up once again to exchange ideas and establish synergies.
With a spatial design drawn up by Burgos & Garrido Arquitectos, like for the last three editions, ARCOmadrid has been designed as a small city where art creates new circuits and leads to different encounters. In it, the hustle and bustle generated by visitors and exhibitors coexists with a more organised grid of streets and avenues, which are traversed in continuity and where the use of colour, spatial rules and certain geometries facilitate the control of flows, rhythms and organisational and visual noise that characterises any fair. Spread out between the galleries and the streets, common spaces have once again taken centre stage as places that favour exchange and conversation, reminding visitors of the collective nature of ARCO as a meeting point.
As was the case in 2020 and 2021, Actiu has participated, together with other brands belonging to the Leading Brands of Spain Forum (FMRE), like Cosentino, Estiluz, Fama, Joque, LZF Lamps, Lladró, Naturtex, Ondarreta y Sancal, in furnishing the VIP Lounge, also designed by the Burgos & Garrido studio based on terms such as landscaping, nature and theatre.
"One of the aims of the design of this poetic landscape is to disseminate the identity of excellence of Spanish design, architects, designers and design companies in the cultural environment of ARCO, one of the most important international meetings of contemporary art," explains Marisa Santamaría, Strategic Director of the FMRE Design Network.
“We have tried to talk about the earth and nature and, at the same time, take advantage of its character as an ephemeral installation to recover the aesthetics of the theatre and its drama,” says the authors of this great rock garden.
To achieve this, the architects have opted for a bold design with minimal elements and colours, where the stones coexist with a “circus-like and theatrical installation”, built from the black fabrics normally used at the fair to mark off different areas, and the red wooden framework and with an architectural character that separates the lunch space from the cafeteria.
“Although the pandemic situation wasn't the inspiration we were after, it has undeniably influenced the search and desire to return to nature experienced in recent years,” they point out at Burgos & Garrido, which, faced with the rise in digital art and new channels of marketing such as NFTs, have opted for the primal and the natural through elements that are part of the collective and more primitive imagination.
Open plan and reminiscent of an agora space, the VIP Lounge has materialised the desire of visitors to come together and share experiences in a natural environment , with stones that invade the spaces and that, depending on how they are placed, have formed part of the landscape or have become a landmark. “It's about the people being able to invade the stones and the furniture, being able to move it,” the architects explain. While the lunch area has been designed as a natural landscape to explore, with furniture that reproduces more domestic situations and lighting centred on the rocks that invites people to make the space their own; in the dining room everything changes. Colonised by the human being, furniture and lighting emerge as the main stars, and the stones move into the background, like small divider screens.
Fluit, the chair made from fibreglass and 100% recycled polypropylene plastic from fruit and vegetable boxes, whose multifunctional nature allows it to be used in different environments, has been one of the ranges with which Actiu has participated in this year's VIP Lounge.
In addition to the Noom armchair, whose friendly and elegant design favours communication and conveys well-being; the iconic Karbon chair, made of carbon fibre and which fuses craftsmanship and innovation; the Longo soft seating with its infinite configurations; and the versatile and lightweight Wing chairs and Tabula tables.
All of them have contributed to building a space that, in addition to blurring the boundaries between the natural and the constructed, has shown how necessary it is to create open, flexible environments that are easily adaptable to future changes, with furniture designed for people and the planet, both throughout its useful life and at the end of it.
The urban, the built and the ephemeral have come together at a fair that materialises the increasingly blurred line between what's public and private, and the different uses. Cities and work, leisure or domestic spaces, which provide their users with an enriching experience, facilitating the relationship between their inhabitants and the environment. Living places in constant transformation, where function is diluted with emotion and art helps to provide identity and enhance creativity through the senses.
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