Compiled by TeamIAnD
Photography: Courtesy TOMA
The winning pavilion at the Lively Architecture Festival at La Grande Motte, France dwells on the concept of ‘self-reflection’ epitomized through the pure geometry of a circle…
The Porthole pavilion is an experimental piece of architecture, designed by Antonio Nardozzi & María Dolores del Sol Ontalba of TOMA (team of manufacturers and architects) for the tenth edition of the Lively Architecture Festival (FAV) at La Grande-Motte, France. The annual festival prides itself on its dialogue between heritage and contemporary Architecture through installations and is open to all; the winner chosen by a select jury and the public.
Occupying just 9 sq.m. of space, the anamorphic pattern is designed by creating ad hoc optical and mathematical processes, which, starting from a cube, continually evolve, changing its own features with respect to the points of view, flattening and creating a perfect circle.
The main experimental element of this public art is the way the perspective-localized technique is performed, where the whole habitable sculpture becomes a flat sign, a virtual porthole on the seafront of La Grande-Motte! The contours of the panels reinterpret the city panorama by recycling the organic shapes of the buildings of the architect Jean Balladur and the boats surrounding the quay. Its fluctuant shapes, modelled and sculpted as if carved by wind erosion, allow one to stroll through, shelter under or sit on - a comfortable urban element that invites one to discover unexpected optical illusions in tandem with the constantly moving spectators.
Gaps between the 120 MDF boards used, dispose the vertical structure in an angular grid inscribed in a cube, whose side is 3 meters and allows one to see the minimal number of metallic pieces from a specific vantage point of view. The pavilion dons an ethereal appearance with its layers mounted one on top of another using 1500 metallic screws between them. Approx. 1500 metallic screws join and separate the layered MDF panels, creating a rigid and sturdy single structure.
The pavilion represents self-indulgence; an experience completely devoted to the pleasure gained by contemplating the landscape while enjoying the coastal breeze and lulled by the waves. A place that suggests that you slow down, interact and confer yourself a moment of reflection bound to last a long time, beyond the ephemeral.