invisible traces

competition 2015
Via Laietana, Barcelona, Spain
Team with Alejandra Alonso, Albert Casas, Mercè Lorente, Laura Sanchis, Gina Surià, Aleix Turón

Invisible Traces is a night light installation that takes advantage of the magical quality of Christmas lightings to discover the city of the XIXth century and to turn into visible the spirit of the invisible Barcelona. During the second half of XIX century, social and health problems forced Barcelona to grow outside the walls. L’Eixample, by the hand of Ildefons Cerdà, was proposed as a homogeneous mesh able to solve the surface that was in between the city centre and all the little towns around, giving priority to certain streets. One of those was Gran Via A, built in1859 and known today as Via Laietana. This new connexion between the city and the sea forced to destroy around 2000 houses and several medieval palaces, obviating the crossings of transversal streets that finished disappearing or being completing cut.

The construction of huge institutional buildings created a new facade that hides, even nowadays, the history of Via Laietana. The superposition of the historic and present plan allows us to reconstruct the city of 1850 making evident those current testimonies of the past streets. In this way, Invisible Traces introduces the citizen to the disappeared streets throughout vertical lighting panels that reproduce the destroyed facades and the narrow streets. Lighting curtains, apparently aleatories, make the walker participes unconsciously into this magical experience from the Via Laietana’s side walks as well as from the streets that crosses it. This experience allows escaping from the monotone Christmas lighting and finds a unitary lecture between via Laietana and the invisible traces.