One of the main attractions at the 2012 International Horticultural Exhibition Floriade this year is the Spanish Pavilion, which was designed by Pulgón Diseño Studio. This exhibition centre offers visitors a playful sense of the multiplicity of ecosystems and production methods of the Spanish horticultural system. The centre showcases the colours, textures and used materials that were incorporated in its design.
The International Horticultural Exhibition Floriade is organised every ten years in Holland. This year one of the exhibition centres, the Spanish Pavilion, which was designed by Pulgón Diseño Studio, offers visitors a playful sense of the multiplicity of ecosystems and production methods of the Spanish horticultural system.
According to the website www.metalocus.es, the architects based their design on the cradle-to-cradle idea by showcasing various sustainable and organic materials that were used to create this exhibition space. “The design embodies the cyclical and continuous qualities of nature that are indispensable in their current conception of sustainability with the use of natural resources,” the website states.
Creatively illustrating a theme with architectural design
Representing Spain, the pavilion embodies the Venlo Floriade 2012 Horticultural Expo’s overall sustainability philosophy. The exhibition centre is aimed to highlight the importance of organic products, diversity and natural richness in a modern concept of sustainability and the use of natural resources.
It is managed by Acción Cultural Española (AC/E) and consists of a 302m2 building and a 148-square-metre plaza. The website www.accioncultural.es cites that the pavilion is divided into two major spaces – the multifunctional hall for tastings and presentations and the productive environment hall. Both spaces have been designed to showcase Spain’s mosaic of landscapes.
Spain is comprised of a multiplicity of environments and production methods that exist on its national territory. “The country’s great wealth of habitats and forms of agricultural exploitation is an important asset that stands out within Europe as a whole. The theme of the Spanish exhibition is ‘Naturally Diverse’: the story of Spanish horticulture is told in the pavilion. The diversity is illustrated on the basis of ten different Spanish regions, each with its own typical horticultural produce. It was done by clearly defining the differentiated climatic environments that are showcased at the exhibition centre together with their different products,” states www.accioncultural.es.
The pavilion offers a recreational space. Ten sensory cabins were designed in which visitors can experience the relevant aspects of each one of the landscapes that shape the Spanish mosaic, combined with tasting sessions of Spanish products. The pavilion also boasts a space for children and families in the outdoor plaza.
Visitors can see the Spanish landscape from the air and gain an impression of its diversity. The production processes, from sowing the seed to harvesting, wholesale and distribution, are displayed on monitors. An interactive screen shows the most important aspects of Spanish horticulture. In ten different sensory booths visitors can experience a multisensory display relating to the ten different regions in Spain.
This striking building that stretches seven meters long illustrates continuity through the main building design. It literally rises from the land, and is slightly lifted in order to host the interior spaces of the exhibition. “The height of the building, slopes from the lowest platform to the highest peak and becomes a metaphor to the topography of the land and plant growth. This unifies the outside social spaces with the interior display area by connecting it through permeable enclosures,” the website www.metalocus.es cites.
Playing with colours and textures
The architectural website www.inhabitat.com says the temporary pavilion looks like a bright and cosy home. Splashes of gentle autumn colours enhance the neutral colour of the pavilion, while spunky wooden sculptures bring attention back to the flora, the focal point of the expo.
Pulgón Diseño illustrated the corporate identity of the country’s agricultural industry, using a wide range of colours to represent the natural environment, and reinforces the idea of the variety of ecosystems and products present in the country. “The different ways in which seeds are among the crops make up the ecosystems, and also serve as an inspiration for the morphological corporate image.”
Selecting sustainable materials
Sleepers, construction planks and other structural elements of the building were made from recycled wood that were cut into the desired dimensions. The planks were fixed to a flat basis or battened according to its location in the project, while also paying special attention to the use of the products to create a superficial finish.
Cross-cut trunk disks and wooden cobbles that came from construction sites, mushroom farms and harvested after forest fires were fixed to a continual surface or snapped on a resin, after which it was dyed into different colours. These materials were used to create the colourful walls of the exhibition centre.
According to the website www.archilovers.com, vegetable elements such as canes and hurdles, used both in horticultural installations and traditional constructions, were reused in different ways in the construction of the vertical parameters. These natural materials also included shoots from vines and pruned olive branches and were also incorporated in the creation of the ceilings and paving. “The structure of the building is based on laminated wood nerves distributed in accordance with the outline of the building to create the curve of the ceiling.”
The website states that both the nutshells of hazelnuts and walnuts, as well as the pips of other products like olives and peaches, were used by mixing them with glue, and to make continual paving as finishing of the building of the pavilion. “Through the crushing, grinding and composting, these natural elements also became the basis of construction elements such as boards and planks of properties similar to natural wood.”
The floor of the exhibition space was created with boxes and containers previously used for transporting products such as fruit and vegetables. The flat board surface was made from agricultural products such as recycled nutshells or trunks from burnt forests. Wood from fruit boxes, planks and building works or demolition beams served as support, coating and paving for the project.
Exhibition interior design
Indissoluble, a company which was hired to design the furniture for the exhibition centre, built ten sensorial cabinets with a metal structure that contained a variety of concepts that originate from horticultural Spanish products. The products were represented by interactive elements like visual effects, as well as mechanical and multimedia systems.
The company also designed a complex cupboard to show food products through images or its packaging. A graphic system on the pavement guided visitors through the exhibition. In the yard, the company built a natural wooden tree that functions as a kids’ game.
The Spanish Pavilion is one of the most exciting structures built, yet that not only embodies a country’s culture, but also to leads the way in finding innovative ways to incorporate natural elements in architectural designs.
– Written by Nichelle Lemmer
Full acknowledgement and thanks are given to www.metalocus.es and www.inhabitat.com as well as www.archilovers.com for the information given to write this article.