Intended for use as an exhibition space at trade fairs, the design for the CRICURSA links the materiality of the project with the object being exhibited. The stand was meant to serve as an example of CRICURSA’s ability as a manufacturer of architectural glass to produce a wide variety of geometries and finishes – a full-scale prototype, so to speak. The inspiration came from the properties of silica; it has an interesting crystalline structure that ultimately defined the essence and conceptual design of the project.
The geometric complexity results in an architecture capable not only of reflecting the virtues of this raw material in terms of a specific morphology, but also its materiality, by using different shapes and colours. As a result, the envelope demonstrates the performance of the product and the many formal possibilities it offers as a support for surface engravings. At the same time, it can be adapted with a wide variety of transparencies and gemstone shades. Thus, the exhibition space is surrounded by a series of folds that house the different programmes: a permanent exhibition area, a meeting room, interactive screens, a storage space, and a corporate zone.
The interest, shared by ON-A with the client, lay in reflecting CRICURSA’s ability as a manufacturer of architectural glass to execute the complex geometries and finishes involved in building the stand. Straight, folded, and spherical glass pieces come together to form the series of planes that take on a structural function, supported by a polyhedral steel mesh – a skeleton that establishes the main guidelines that shape the folds of the three-dimensional network, with an identity that transports us back to the earliest origins of glass.
The geometry is inspired by the crystalline forms of silica, the base component of glass. Its properties are transferred onto the stand, transforming it into a large-scale digital geode. From this digital geode, a sculpted and modeled geometry rises in a process that is similar to the one used by a jeweler cutting a diamond: each polyhedral volume in the design is given its own value and identity. The general volume of the project is formed by a structural mesh made from bars and nodes in a steel sheet; each of the glass pieces is hung onto this structure, maintaining a series of very precise dry joints. The glass panes incorporate different geometries, finishes, and dimensions, classified into three types, apart from the company’s corporate colours. Thus, there are yellow flat pieces and folded orange pieces comprised of two different faces connected by a fold. The remaining group is made up of blue spherical pieces, with convex surfaces, where the central curve can reach up to 20 cm in length. All the glass pieces have their own identity and have been acid etched with a pattern, which generates a wide variety of transparencies across their surfaces.
The definition of the construction process implies this transformation from the virtual to the real, in which all the materials embody their specific characteristics, weights, strengths, and maximum production dimensions. Beginning with those parameters, the structure is shaped from a steel frame, folded, and screwed together to make a mesh capable of supporting the weight of the glazed surfaces. Subsequently, the glass pieces are hung to generate the enclosure, locking the structure into a more resistant and stable whole.