”Κελλιά / Kellia” / selectie pentru realizare la concursul international pentru obiecte temporare de design urban ”Ecoarhipelag”


”Time to remember” acest concurs pentru Piata Unirii si raul Dambovita organizat de Asociatia Ivan Patzaikin.

Aici am lucrat cu niste teme care ma preocupa in continuare si carora le caut noi declinari…instalatia de la Dalles respira cate ceva din acestea…

A fost un concurs despre aducerea pe raul de la Bucuresti, a ceva din specificul Deltei si al Chiliei Vechi.

Un gest mixt: unitar fiind vorba tot de apa dar si tensionat, cu riscul de a fi artificial fiindca…cum sa gasesti o relatie fireasca intre o capitala si un sat din marginea Deltei, peste canal de Ucraina?

Solutia creativa pe care am gasit-o s-a referit la o ascundere partiala a obiectului de design, scufundandu-l putin si lasand tocmai apa sa-i intermedieze prezenta si vizibilitatea in Piata Unirii.

Ascundere, ambiguitate, intrezarire… spatii mentale pentru imaginare si mai putine afirmari clare. La fel ca Delta careia ii lipsesc demarcarile clare intre pamant si apa, care are putine tarmuri ferme si multe lumi mixte, amstecate.

Aceasta asezare, Chilia Veche, nu are o identitate puternica. Ea traieste mai degraba fragmentar, incert, purtand inca in sine o veche dar si slaba memorie a pamantului, a graului (aici in Delta…) si a unei fortificatii genoveze. Kellia, Eschil Kale, Chilia…greci, otomani, romani, toti au denumit-o pe vremuri facand referire la granar si agricultura.

Chilia este si despre straturi, ambiguitate, despre apa si textura, despre tactilitate si ortogonalitate. Daca te gandesti la cetate sau te uiti la planul satului vei simti aceasta geometrie.


Asadar plutind pe Dambovita cea cu maluri din beton, in Piata Unirii cea din betoane, nu exista la prima vedere nimic clar.

Lumea Chiliei este sub aceasta apa, in mod simbolic putin sub stratul orasului, facand un fel de arheologie acvatica.

In mod neasteptat ea devine potrivita cu acest loc din Bucuresti care chiar are nevoie de ceva arheologie… macar una a memoriei, referitoare la orasul demolat masiv in anii ’80 pentru a face loc Centrului Civic.

Iar dincolo de apa exista grau pe care daca te duci cu barca il poti atinge, lua in palma.

Si suportul graului de sub apa? Un patrat amintind de cetate, grid-ul strazilor Chiliei, de simbolul pamantului care a dat graul Chiliei, de ideea memoriei care se cere si stabilizata pe un suport mai bine definit, aici sub apa translucida.

Este un gest minimal care mediaza doar cu trei elemente, apa, patratul si graul, relatia dintre centrul betonat al unei capitale si memoria unui sat din marginea tarii si a Deltei.





Pentru concurs am scris si mai detaliat despre ideile acestui patrat din grau imersat.

Atasez mai jos textul in forma sa predata la competitia tinuta in limba engleza, ca sa implinim si spiritul cosmopolit al blogului:





The Delta and Chilia Veche:

The Danube Delta is for us an ambiguous place because of the lack of clear distinctions between water and land. Here, the concept of an island is weaker because of that blurred limit that usually clearly divides the water base and the ,,floating’’ elements. Contrary to the lake, river, sea or ocean,The Delta has a more complex discourse about the filter, the transition, the in-between elements. Sometimes the limit may become even the dominant element introducing a new but paradoxical soft hierarchy.


During this project we understood that Chilia Veche is not only a Delta village but an amazing discovery of an ancient history dating back to the Antiquity. It was a Genovese stronghold, a center of commerce and had an overwelming  grain production exported towards the Mediteraneean space, including to the Byzantine Constantinople. Today, all this background is partially lost and inactive except the name of the village: Κελλιά (Kellia) is a greek term for granary. The later Ottoman name, ,,Eskil Kale’’, and the Romanian ,,Chilia’’, preserved this agricultural reference.


Consequently we chose to consider in our installation:

the age almost out of the scale when related at today’s dicreet village

the water as limit and generator of ambiguity

the memory of the grain / granary contained in the name of this settlement


The place within Bucharest:

Related to the urban context we thought that working in the very middle of the communist city of the 80’s built on the place of the demolished historical Bucharest has a stake of reconnecting more to a preexistence than that of affirming a brand new and crisp presence. In this place, the multilayered town was replaced with a singular layer of urban intervention, with a singular age. More than this, all the urban intervention is highly emphatic, having a strong built presence generating an urban space with no connection with the human scale.


Therefore we considered to partially undermine this urban trauma by affirming:

the layering

the lack of a clear emphatic presence

the human scale rediscovered within a multisensory (not only visual) experience




We chose to work with a minimal set of three elements : a thin layer of water, a square and a grain surface.


The water

The underwater yet visible installation integrates the water (a layer of ten centimeters) into the design as a visual blurring device that creates an ambiguous perception. The immersed object loses the clarity of its lines and changes its visibility depending on the quality of light reflected into the water or on the surface variations of the river caused by the wind and waves. The installation is not an explicit object over the water but a varying presence between depth and surface. This uncertain, profound and dynamic character is linked to the ideas of memory and of potentiality. Chilia Veche has an ancient memory and an un-activated cultural and touring potential.


The square

We referred at the very long history of Chilia Veche, at its persistence in its place dating back to Antiquity, at the earth that sustained the grain agriculture, at the memory of the genovese stronghold. Under the water is a square that we chose for its universal message of stability, the symbol of earth and for being the generic contour of any fortification. The square is also an interpretation of the rectangular road grid that characterizes Chilia Veche. With its clear geometry contrasts with the blurring effect of the water layer, generating a specific and an unsolved expressive tension.


The grain

The square has also a surface and that is made of grain, an underwater grain texture. This material activates the memory of a representative agricultural practice that gave the name of this settlement. Being underwater though, it becomes a bit illusory and inaccessible, just as today’s agriculture in Chilia Veche has lost its importance for the locals. Nevertheless the shallow water means that anyone can touch the grain. More than that, grains in a shallow water are a strong symbol of potential life, of vitality. Our installation is linked to a memory but marks also a potential of development. We do not design a sort of commemorative monument nor a playfull and shallow installation but a living almost organic object connected with the past but inspiring thoughts about the future.  


The installation has a discreet and illusory, partial presence. It has to be discovered an so it generates a route and a process of exploration just as the Delta relates to Bucharest or the rest of Romania because of its peripheral location and ambiguous character. Only in proximity one can have the full experience of the installation because of the visibility and tactility of the micro grain texture.


The fact that the object exists just beneath the surface of the town is essential for us. Here in Piata Unirii, Bucharest is a made of big emphatic objects, strong signs of a communist political context. In this place (or maybe a non-place?) we didn’t create another object that would be easily dominated by the communist urban context but chose to make a radical statement by creating a (still visible) project just under the town’s surface, within ten centimeters of water. By doing so, the Delta and Chilia Veche brought here are relating mainly with the water and the concept of layers, within a kind of aquatic archaeology.


The idea of an archaeology is appropriate not only to Chilia Veche but also to this place of Bucharest: three decades ago, it existed here a completely different city that later was brutally demolished, not without leaving until today certain traces of its past existence. Concerning the public conscience, enhancing the concept of archaeology in this place (even only by artistic means for now) is a positive event. It may later activate certain and more focused recovery practices.


Our installation has to be minimal and with only three elements has to say stories about the Danube’s Delta, Chilia Veche and also, about this place in Bucharest. Our approach focused away from an explicit designed object to the fragile relationship between presence and absence, to the process of discovery, to texture, tactility and symbol, all of them filtered through the water.










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