Under the theme of ‘Democracy’ for the pavilion series BCN re.set in Barcelona, Israeli designer Yael Reisner and English architect Peter Cook have collaborated to imagine and realise Take My Hand in Barcelona’s Plaça de la Merce. The public space has been transformed into a place for civil wedding ceremonies, which as a societal event represents a celebration of extended human rights. The inclusion of new possibilities in some countries for inter-faith, non-religious, and same-sex marriages provides freedom that was previously not available.
The project’s distinguishing feature, a bright blue PVC inflated structure in the form of a hand, is suspended above the plaza to serve as a shady canopy for the space’s events. Below, a raised wooden walkway acts as the processional pathway and stage, while lined by 21 plant-covered columns.
The canopy takes its form and colour from the universal logo for human rights, in order to clearly symbolise the pavilion’s intentions of promoting fundamental rights in civilised societies. Additionally, the light-blue tone of the inflated object blends with the sky at certain times of day, increasing its visual intrigue. The balloon structure is held in place by strings tied to surrounding buildings and weighted posts on the ground. Functioning to shade the space below, its irregularly shaped shadow morphs throughout the day as it moves across the plaza.
Barcelona’s civil registration building is located on the south edge of Plaça de la Merce, thus making the pavilion’s activities particularly relevant. The design team states, ‘thus the two tenets of democratic behavior – the personal and the societal are brought here together, hopefully helped by the combination of a sympathetic registrar and a joyous couple – taking the celebration out into the square.’
BCN re.set has been arranged by the architect Benedetta Tagliabue, of EMBT, along with Fundació Enric Miralles. The pavilion series is a part of the city-wide festival tricentenari BCN, which commemorates the 300th anniversary of the events of 11 September 1714. The occasion seeks to rediscover the city of the 18th century and to contemplate on the present and future urban conditions, through various exhibitions, debates, seminars, publications, routes, celebrations, and art works.
Project: Take My Hand
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Architect: Yael Reisner, Tel Aviv, Israel - Peter Cook, London, UK
Technical info: Inflatable PVC
Picture credits: Miralles / Tagliabue EMBT - Marcela Grassi
Website: www. tricentenari.bcn.cat/BCNreset