Units for Reconstruction by Miguel Vieira Baptista
Portugese designer Miguel Vieira Baptista came up with a set of measuring tools for a hypothetical reconstruction of a castle by estimating lengths with his hands.
Units for Reconstruction was made by Miguel Vieira Baptista as part of The Castle in Three Acts, an exhibition in Guimarães Castle inviting artists, architects and designers to explore the themes of construction, destruction and reconstruction.
"After my first visit to the castle I started to work in the office without a measuring tape," explained the designer. "I just stretched my arms, pointed out dimensions on the wall and defined thickness using my hand."
He then developed a series of cylinders, blocks and planks that echo some of the proportions of the tenth-century castle.
The approximate sizes and the human scale of the objects allude to the absence of a rigid system of measurement when the castle was built.
One of the cylinders is cut into wedges to act as an angle ruler, while two planks join at a right angle to form a set square.
The objects are made from MDF and painted white, and were arranged inside the castle as though they'd been left behind by a carpenter or stonemason.
Above: Guimarães Castle
The exhibition was held last summer as part of Guimarães' year as a European Capital of Culture, which also included a tower of straw bales and a tiny cinema where audience members had to crawl like a centipede to get inside – see all installations from Guimarães.
Photographs are by André Cepeda.
See more stories about castles »
See more stories about installations »
Here's some more information from the designer:
Units for Reconstruction
During 2012 the Portuguese city of Guimarães hosted a great number of events as part of the programming for the European Capital of Culture. One of these events was the exhibition "The Castle in 3 Acts" where several artists, architects and designers were commissioned to develop work under the idea of construction, destruction and reconstruction.
Above: the designer demonstrates human-scale measurements
Miguel Vieira Baptista's site-specific work was the towers of the city’s iconic castle, often described as the place where Portugal's birth took place around the year 1128. A castle by definition is an architectural piece that runs through the endless sequence of the exhibition's themes.
Miguel Vieira Baptista approached the challenge from a designer’s point of view and developed a series of measuring elements to be used on a hypothetical reconstruction of the castle. The piece consists of large-scale rulers along with several plates and blocks of varying sizes that relate strongly with the existing building.
"After my first visit to the castle I started to work in the office without a measuring tape. I just stretched my arms, pointed dimensions on the wall and defined thickness using my hand." His collaborators translated these imprecise measures in to technical drawings. The process sounds unusual, but designers often use this approach in the creative process. The metric system can hinder the flow of the design process. He wanted to allude to the nonexistence of a metric logic when the castle was built by accentuating the site, the materials, construction techniques and the human scale.
Above: diagram of installation inside the castle
Miguel Vieira Baptista's installation explored the idea of tooling for the reconstruction phase. Upon arriving at the 2nd floor of the castle tower, the visitor was left with the impression of entering a carpenter or stonemason's workshop with all these site-specific units of measure lying on the floor.
Units for Reconstruction
Painted MDF, various dimensions
The Castle in 3 Acts exhibition, Guimarães European Capital of Culture
Collaborators - Pedro Almeida, Rui Lopes, Vanessa Domingues