Smiljan Radić creates an inflatable stage for the Chilean architecture biennale

Smiljan Radić creates an inflatable stage for the Chilean architecture biennale

Chilean architects Smiljan Radić and Nicolás Schmidt have created an inflatable metal structure that acts as the stage for the country’s architecture biennial in Santiago.

The installation was located in the Plaza de la Cultura in the Chilean capital and served as the setting for the programming of the country’s Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism.

Radić and Schmidt’s work consists of a large bag-shaped metal structure situated on a grassy area between the street and the square.

Inflatable stage for the Chilean Biennial
Smiljan Radić and Nicolás Schmidt created an inflatable stage for the Chilean architecture biennale

Weighted on all sides and held together with ropes, the structure was attached to pumps that keep it constantly inflated, creating a cavern-like interior where chairs and a presentation area were placed.

Small slits in the side of the structure allow visitors and program attendees to pass through while keeping it inflated.

The obviously temporary nature of the installation aligns with the festival’s theme, “Vulnerable Habitats.”

Interior of metallic inflatable structure
It was created to house the conferences and talks of the festival

The programming was oriented around this theme, focusing on topics such as the increase in informal housing, land seizures, the deterioration of public spaces, and the vulnerability of the environment.

“We seek to open new spaces for reflection on cultural, social and technological transformations in the era of changing fortunes that is coming, and the lessons learned from the social crisis and the pandemic.” said the festival.

Entrance to the inflatable pavilion in Santiago
Entry through slots on the side.

In addition to the Radić and Schmidt stage, three other public installations were included as part of the programming.

Another is the Plaza de la Constitución pavilion, which refers to the design created for the third United Nations Conference on Trade and Development by the architect Montserrat Palmer 50 years ago.

Red tent in front of the Santiago state house
A red tent was created in homage to the Chilean architect Montserrat Palmer

For the pavilion, a long red tent was erected at the shade tables, presenting models of works by architects and urban planners that “improve the quality of life of people and communities” and “reduce, in a broad sense, the vulnerabilities of cities and territories”.

Other temporary structures designed for the biennial include two shadow structures in Plaza de la Ciudadanía by Jean Araya and Miguel Casassus, and Low Estudio.

metal screen structure
Jean Araya and Miguel Casassus created a metallic shadow structure for the public during the festival

The first is a shadow structure made of a metallic fabric that refers to the stage.

The fabric was supported on poles to create an undulating tent with holes punched in it to let in light and air.

Low Estudio’s contribution is called Un Monunto “mirrored prism”, which reflects the environment to “alter the perspective with which the environment is perceived”.

“We intend that the XXII Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism of Chile is a choral work that promotes a variety of ideas that contribute to the contemporary discussion on the promotion and quality of architecture, constructions, and public spaces,” said the festival.

Reflexive installation in Chile by Low Estudio
Low Estudio’s installation reflects the people and environment that surrounds it

Radić is known for his residential and public architecture and has created other similar temporary installations of late, including a reusable inflatable dome for shows by the Alexander McQueen fashion house.

The photography is by Cristóbal Palma.

The Chilean Architecture and Urbanism Biennial took place from January 14 to 22, 2023. For more international events, talks, and exhibitions on architecture and design, visit the Dezeen Events Guide.

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