Paolo Michele Salvetti:Lab:senses in space
This 150sqm pavilion built mostly of bamboo on the outskirts of São Paulo is an empirical study of the perception of space. The different arrangement of the bamboo and its interaction with wind and light address different senses and create atmospheres that elicit different emotions for each individual.
“This is a delightful exploration of space: elegant and clear drawings are translated into a simple habitable structure. Paolo Michele Salvetti has successfully considered topography, weather and materials to produce a beautiful and subtle experience on a very human scale.” Karen Martin and Anand Sagoo
Paolo Michele Salvetti gave us a short interview:
1. What sense of space are you trying to arouse in the visitors of the pavilion?
The pavilion proportionates a progressive experience of space. Firstly the massive and full vision of the pavilion inspires an imagination of solidity that will be challenged when the person enters into the space, and then an experience of rhythmic and vertical elements slowly transforms itself into a moving forest when the person enters the part with bamboos hanging from the top and moving with the wind. At this moment there is a real call of conscience to the present and a lost feeling that suddenly ends when the person enters the inner “dome”. This is the surprising, unexpected and big moment when the individual, still involved in the structure, can look outside at enjoy the view aware of itself and of the surrounding. Although there are specific moments were there is a link with a specific sense as touching, equilibrium and thermic, because some bamboos have ice on them, the pavilion does not promote a specific sense because it is almost impossible to isolate a single sense, therefore it is made to be a total element influenced buy the surroundings and the weather that will influence the experience. Also each person can choose his or her own path, they don’t have to walk like I imagined but letting their own feeling guide them, generating a their own experience.
2. Why did you choose bamboo as the construction material?
Bamboos are a local and rather cheap material to work with in Sao Paulo. But more importantly, its strength, verticality and light weight makes it the ideal structural component for the project. It allowed me to build the entire structure with it, to proportionate the rhythmic elements and to create interesting spatial patterns through hanging pieces. The materiality was particularly appealing for its unexpected acoustic properties and physical as well as sensorial interaction with the wind.
3. What did you learn and how can you use this knowledge in other architectural projects?
I have learned many things from this project, from its conception, its construction and the related experiences. Researching about atmospheres and human sense and how they combine to make us feel what we feel. Then I learned even more from the realisation of the project, while actually discovering the possibilities of the material and given resources also how to work with the bamboo and to build something, even if it is in a small scale. Finally through conversations and observations of how other people experience my construction. How the title says it is a laboratory and ongoing experience that should generate more pavilions and questions about atmospheres and spaces. I imagine to use this in further projects not just in pavilions but in an architecture related to individuals and to spaces, but it still is an ongoing project and research. And I still have a lot to learn from it.