News & Events

Riccardo Blumer’s Wall Exhibit featured on Designboom!

Riccardo Blumer Atelier builds walls made of water and soap in algorithmic installation

By Designboom

wall, created by lorela arapi, stefano clerici and andrea cappellaro, is a machine which continuously forms temporary, almost insubstantial surfaces made of water and soap. realized during riccardo blumer’s collaborative workshop at the academy of architecture and supported by the MADWORKSHOP foundation, the installation is presented under the theme of freespace during this year’s venice architecture biennale.


image © designboom


talking to designboom, riccardo blumer explains, ‘the idea came from the students and it was almost something like a bet, a provocation, to see if we were able to do this.’ the wall is made from liquid, a stretched soapy lamina that is both permeable and fragile, exploring the limitations of the boundary and the notion of a wall in general. ‘it is a process of acknowledgement, a good experience and a good reflection on the idea of a wall and light,’ explains blumer while discussing the final outcome, ‘the other thing is, the wall exists only because you see it, and you basically see the light –  so we used it as a tool to get to some ideas about light in architecture.’ composed of eleven segments, the installation uses algorithms and automatic movements to generate new kinds of dynamic architecture. even if all rods begin to move in sync, they almost immediately fall into discord due to the ephemeral nature of the material, and each of the eleven soapy surfaces ends up having a different lifespan. 


images © plane—site unless stated otherwise


wall is part of a series of seven projects done by atelier blumer that develop around the theme of automatic architecture. the workshop is supported by MADWORKSHOP, a foundation started by david and mary martin that offers emerging designers the opportunity to take their ideas from concept to reality. ‘we have a deep commitment to design for social value and, to me, even just broadening the dialogue of what an architecture school can be, these cross-disciplinary relationships, is also a part of the social value that we are dealing with – so, it is great to have these students really push the frontier of what you can do in design and architecture and even questioning what is architecture, what is a wall, do we have to be so serious, can we be more playful,’ director sofia borges tells designboom. ‘this project brings people together, they smile, it’s fun and that’s also powerful – how do you bring joy back into the design world, because sometimes there is not as much as there could be, so I think all of this matters and has an impact on social space and the ways we reinvigorate the public sphere through design and bring people together. the students are building walls but these ones actually bring people together.’