2019 is a year with a substantial political importance for Britain. For that reason alone, although not exclusively, all British cultural institutions share the same wish of proving that all communication ways are still open and the desire for keeping the long-time built connections still active, through all means possible. Therefore, we propose the main theme for the current pavilion at Book-fest to tackle the notion of openness, as a means of encouraging the interchange of information.
Being (in the) open
We understand that the need to be open implies, to a certain extent, a large amount of courage, exposure, together with an almost innocent sincerity. The photo album by Amelia Allen provided a surprising source of inspiration, since it encompasses some of the same values: "a world where the body is completely liberated, devoid of styling and stripped of fabric and fashion. People are no longer defined by appearance and are free to connect as equals, regardless of wealth, occupation or social standing." (https://books.google.ro/books/about/Naked_Britain.html?id=nE7HswEACAAJ&source=kp_book_description&redir_esc=y)
Thus, our proposal aims at challenging the meaning of a entity stripped of most of the usual accessories - a naked body - but which is brought to light by the presence of people, as varied as they come. It also strives to become a metaphor for the will to communicate openly and closely, almost in an intimate manner.
From the architectural point of view, the theme of nakedness leads us to another recurring topic in contemporary architecture: "the project with no lines". A design that is expressive in the absence (as much as possible) of any built shapes. In reality, the objects that form the pavilion are limited to a minimum: a totem-like object dividing the 120 m2 area into four main cores: info desk/reception, book selling, kids' corner and book-talk/presentations. The rest of the space definition is provided by pieces of furniture, also reduced in size and presence.
The totem is as tall as the regulation allows for (7 meters) and presents itself as an exposed wooden structure, with the upper and lower part covered in gypsum-board cladding: one that stands as a signal (with the British Council logo) to be visible from the main entrance which is located quite far away, and the other which may be used for showcasing the "Drawing words" exhibition, as well as other materials that may require direct visibility.
The lighting concept is also minimal, strictly related to the totem: directional spotlights oriented either upwards, towards the logo, or downwards, towards the main areas of activity.
The flooring is just white paint, in 2 layers, to be even and compact. During the 5 days of exhibition (29th May to 2nd June) the paint will probably be partially erased by the passers-by.
This is expressly our intention, since we are convinced it is a way of marking the duration of existence of the pavilion in itself.