Intersections and Transitions

Inspiration day, an intersection of different disciplines, fields and lines of work from inspiring, leading speakers with different visions of the present and the future. This will be the kick-off event for BBDW to establish the perspective and context of this year’s theme: Intersections and Transitions.

AMBER CASE: Designing Calm Technology

FRANCESCA PERONA: Material-led Design

MARIANA SALGADO: Fluency and permeability.

GINTARAS BALČYTIS: Architecture and context. Genius Loci – a creative approach to architectural design.

The speakers will discuss the theme of BBDW21 based on their own experience, how it intervenes in their daily lives, how they work to achieve new ways of living, doing and being – which are more sustainable, inclusive and creative – and imagine and advance towards friendly, shared and safe futures for all living beings.

This event is provided in collaboration with the TopARTE programme of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

Gintaras Balčytis: Genius Loci, or three forms of “transit” from space to place.

We are surrounded by architecture and design at every step. In the city, at home, at work, and even when we sleep, architecture plays no less important role. In its form and content, both architecture and design assist us in the makings of our everyday life. By their thinking, architects and designers are predetermining the style of our future choices. At present, in our everyday encounters we are confronted with a myriad of challenges and uncertainties, such as digitalization, and information abundance and acceleration, but also with such globally apparent threats as global warming, populations aging, and the rise inequalities. The future can no longer be imagined without eco-thinking and environmental protection, but also humanist and sustainable living solutions. And this is a tremendous challenge awaiting all of the creative professions. 

Architecture and design are very close professions. Their essence reveals in the ideals of function and form. But architecture is, I would say, a “heavyweight art”. It is very difficult if not impossible to convey a rapid change there; and to overcome challenges of the “circular economy” in architecture is not so easy. Design is a more adaptable and, hence, a faster-changing field. Technical progress and circular economy solutions have a particular impact on it. Design is focused on “consumer-product” interaction, whereas architecture requires a subtle additional factor, which is the actual “place” of the future building. Architecture is inseparable from the place, its history, and its social and cultural environment. A spirit of the place, i.e. the Genius Loci, is a key determinant of architectural thinking. In such a manner, the conceptual approach of “transit” is epitomized as a professional ritual, which builds on deep interrelations between the place, the architecture, and the people. 

Understanding the Genius Loci and using this as a design strategy, is particularly important for the architects and society. Architecture not only strongly influences upon the environment, it also has a huge effect on social relations. Architecture should assist us in our moves towards living with humanist values.

In this presentation, three distinct architectural designs will be discussed epitomizing the idea of “transit”. The first example displays “transit” as interrelations between nature and space; the second analyses the architectural concept of the building as the continuation of a city “narrative”; and, lastly, the third example re-interprets how authentic architectural design of a local public space becomes a “signifier” for a new arena for community living.

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, 18 Nov. 2021