Radic installation Chile Biennial 2023

Smiljan Radić creates inflatable stage for Chile's architecture biennial

Chilean architects Smiljan Radić and Nicolás Schmidt have created an inflatable, metallic structure that acts as a stage for the country's architecture biennial in Santiago.

The installation was sited at the Plaza de la Cultura in the Chilean capital and served as a stage for programming at the country's Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism.

Radić and Schmidt's work consists of a large metallic bag-like structure situated on a grassy area between the street and the plaza.

Inflatable stage for Chile Biennial
Smiljan Radić and Nicolás Schmidt created an inflatable stage for Chile's architecture biennial

Weighted on all sides and fastened with ropes, the structure was attached to pumps that keep it constantly inflated, creating a cavern-like interior where chairs and a presentation area was placed.

Small slits on the side of the structure allow visitors and attendees of the programming to pass through while still keeping it inflated.

The installation's obviously temporary nature aligns with the festival's theme, "Vulnerable Habitats".

Metallic inflatable structure interior
It was created to host conferences and talks for the festival

Programming was oriented around this theme, focusing on topics including the increase in informal housing, land seizures, the deterioration of public spaces, and the vulnerability of the environment.

"We seek to open new spaces for reflection on the cultural, social and technological transformations in the era of changing fortunes that are coming, and the lessons learned from the social crisis and the pandemic." said the festival.

Entrance to the inflatable pavilion in Santiago
The entry through slits in the side

On top of Radić and Schmidt's stage, three other public installations were included as part of the programming.

Another is the pavilion Plaza de la Constitución, which references the design created for the third United Nations Conference on Trade and Development by architect Montserrat Palmer 50 years ago.

Red tent in front of Santiago state house
A red tent was created in homage to Chilean architect Montserrat Palmer

For the pavilion, a long red tent was erected to shade tables presenting models works of architects and urban designers that "improve the quality of life of individuals and communities" and "reduce, in a broad sense, the vulnerabilities of cities and territories".

Other temporary structures designed for the biennial include two shade structures at the Plaza de la Ciudadanía by Jean Araya and Miguel Casassus, and Low Estudio.

Metallic shade structure
Jean Araya and Miguel Casassus created a metallic shade structure for the public during the festival

The first is a shade structure made of a metallic fabric that references the stage.

The fabric was propped up on rods to create an undulating tent with holes punched throughout to let in light and air.

Low Estudio's contribution is called Un Monunto "mirrored prism", which reflects the surroundings in order to "alter the perspective with which the environment is perceived"

"We intend that the XXII Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism of Chile is a choral work that promotes a variety of ideas that contribute to the contemporary discussion on the promotion and quality of architecture, constructions and public spaces," said the festival directors Cristóbal Molina and Loreto Lyon.

Reflective installlation in Chile by Low Estudio
Low Estudio's installation reflects the surrounding people and environment

Radić is known for his residential and public architecture and has created other similar temporary installations of late, including a reusable, inflatable dome for fashion house Alexander McQueen's shows.

The photography is by Cristobal Palma.

The Chile Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism took place from 14 to 22 January 2023. For more international events, talks and showcases in architecture and design, visit Dezeen's Events Guide.

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Chile Architecture Biennial 2023
Chile Architecture Biennial 2023
Chile Architecture Biennial 2023
Chile Architecture Biennial 2023
Chile Architecture Biennial 2023
Chile Architecture Biennial 2023
Chile Architecture Biennial 2023
Chile Architecture Biennial 2023
Chile Architecture Biennial 2023