Guallart Architects

Exhibition "La beauté à la nature"


Avignon, France.2000

With Enric Ruiz Geli

The exhibition Beauty in Nature, curated by Yves le Fur, was organized on the occasion of Avignon’s year as European Capital of Culture in 2000. This exhibition presented objects of incredible naturalness in terms of various cultural, geological or scientific approaches; for example, 19th-century glass flowers from the Natural History Museum at Harvard.

In what setting can pieces of such incredible beauty be displayed?

We set out to use glass as a unifying element for the exhibition as a whole, creating ‘cells’ that grouped together all the members of a given family. These pieces were displayed against a black velvet background and lit with cold optical fibre in order to create a sense of weightlessness and ‘enchantement’ in space.

The project investigated the possibility of transforming or deforming the glass according to the logic of the elements it contained, thus creating autonomous entities designed on the basis of interaction with elements such as trees, pulmonary systems, radioactive rocks and pebbles, among others.

The glass was shaped and moulded using the technical expertise of the glass manufacturers Cricursa, either through the deformation that occurs when a surface resting on a perforated metal plate is heated so that the glass deforms by its own weight, or by heating a sheet of glass until its advance is halted by its meeting with a rigid or double curved surface.

A micro mountain of glass finally protected the collection of glass flowers, making them the strangest piece in the exhibition. Eggs, stones and shells were protected by glass that simultaneously created an invisible halo around them and defined their magical beauty.

On the basis of the research carried out for this exhibition, various architectural projects have made use of bulging techniques.


Project date: 1999
Exhibition date: 2000
Client: Mission 200 en France. Ministere de la Culture
Site: Avignon Space Jean Laurent, Francia
Curator: Jean de Loissy, Yves Le Fur
Exhibition design: Vicente Guallart, Enric Ruiz
Collaborator: Joulie Roualt
Producer: Alain Thuleau
Illumination: Philips
Glass: Cricursa
Execution: BEC
Photographer: Giovanni Zanzi