• Geometry of Light
    Luftwerk in collaboration with Iker Gil
    Barcelona Pavilion, Barcelona
    Feb 10, 2019 to Feb 17, 2019
    Farnsworth House, Plano
    Oct 11, 2019 to Oct 13, 2019
    Petra Bachmaier, Sean Gallero & Iker Gil

Luftwerk in collaboration with Iker Gil, “Geometry of Light,” 2019, Barcelona Pavilion, Spain. Photo: Kate Joyce.

Envisioned as a contemporary lens, highlighting and expanding upon the architectural and material features of the 1929 Barcelona Pavilion, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich, as the foundation of the work, Geometry of Light creates a new interpretive layer extending from the primary elements of the architecture, including the gridded plan, vertical planes, and materiality. This intervention of projected light and sound enlivens and alters our perception of the essential elements of the pavilion. By emphasizing the open floor plan and material selections, Geometry of Light heightens the illusion of physical and material boundaries. Focused on the gridded plan of the pavilion, a projected grid of light animates the travertine floor that extends beyond the steel-framed glass walls to accentuate the flowing space as it permeates through the interior and exterior. The animated projections are choreographed to trace, highlight, and alter the composition of the pavilion. In concert with the projected light and patterns, a custom-designed sound piece by Oriol Tarragó is integral to this experience. Developed in direct response to the pavilion, this auditory component uses the pitch of the space to create a tonal reading. A spatial installation of this soundtrack creates a comprehensive, immersive experience. Together, these elements coalesce—both unifying and disjointing the physical and perceptual space—in a new, altered perception and interpretation of the Barcelona Pavilion. Following its premiere in Barcelona, Geometry of Light will be installed at the Farnsworth House in October 2019 to coincide with the third edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Luftwerk is the artistic collaboration of Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero. Luftwerk explores light, color, and perception in immersive, experience-based installations. Focused on the context of a site for each project, Luftwerk applies their own interpretive layer, integrating the physical structure, historical context, and embedded information into each piece. Light and color are primary elements in work by Luftwerk. Their interest lies in the power of light as a crucial element to sight, exploring its dynamic relationship with the perception of color. Using various modalities—projecting videos, casting shadows, creating custom sculpture—they integrate light into every project to explore its ephemeral and shifting nature. Luftwerk has amassed a significant portfolio of work interacting with iconic architecture by architects including Renzo Piano, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Mies van der Rohe. In each project, they draw from the surrounding environment to interpret and expand on the context of the site.

Iker Gil is an architect and director of MAS Studio, a collaborative architecture and urban design firm based in Chicago. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief of the design journal MAS Context, and the editor of several publications, including Shanghai Transforming (ACTAR, 2008). Gil was the associate curator of the US Pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice, and has curated several exhibitions, including BOLD: Alternative Scenarios for Chicago included in the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial. In addition, he teaches architecture studios at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and was the codirector of the Chicago Expander program. Gil has received several grants and awards for his work, including the 2010 Emerging Visions Award from the Chicago Architectural Club, AIA Chicago President’s Citation, and grants from The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and Graham Foundation in support of his journal, MAS Context.