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Yeosu Spanish Pavilion | 2012

Project: Yeosu Spanish Pavilion.

Client: ACE. Acción Cultural Española.

Location: Yeosu, Korea.

Author: External Reference, Carmelo Zappulla, Nacho Toribio, Chu Uroz. 

Team: Marina Cella, Elsa Rodriguez, Bartek Poteralski.

Audiovisual Content: Onion Lab.

Pavilion: Frade Arquitectos. 

Contractor: Manterola, Imagic, Nanuk.

Graphic Design: Research Studio.


South Korea pays homage to oceans and coasts by opening the Yeosu Expo 2012 with the slogan: “The Living Ocean and Coast: Diversity of Resources and Sustainable Activities”. Spain names its exhibit “Spain Explores”, calling attention to its unrivaled tradition of geographical exploration and scientific discovery.

The project’s mission is to showcase Spain’s nautical discoveries by turning a didactic exhibit into a sensory experience which aims to go to the heart of the visitor. The exhibition project consists of 4 main stages:

1. In the entrance hall, the sea routes pioneered by Spanish voyagers are shown and explained to the visitor. 

2. The central space shows three key moments in Spanish seafaring: respectively, Colombo’s, Malaspina’s and Malaspina 2010’s expeditions (this latter has been carried out by the Hesperides’ crew). A circle split into two parts by an imaginary horizon features a didactic projection in the upper part and an interactive show in the lower one.  The three expeditions are explained in detail by three Magic Glasses. These latter use cutting edge visual tools and dynamic graphics which explains their functioning. In particular, in the rightmost showcase, the Hesperides’ research, which has gathered more than 8000 samples at a depth of 5000m using collection tubes, is presented. Between the two halves of the circle, a tv display, arranged vertically, shows the descent of two tubes into the depths of the sea, a sort of preview of what will be shown in the Deep Ocean room.

3. The key area in the project is Deep Ocean. The visitors will enter a space which is lit up with samples containing water collected at a depth of 5000m. The shape of the samples is reminiscent of the tubes used by the Malaspina 2010 Expedition. This recent circumnavigation carried out by the Hesperides’ crew has allowed scientists to collect important data concerning the seas across the Earth. Through the use of peculiar tubular collectors of marine samples, scientists have been able to explore marine biodiversity as well as assess the impact of climate change on the Oceans. In this area, Hesperides’ samples  become more complex, turning into hi-tech glazed amphorae which generate a sort of abyssal topography. 

Their water contains scientific data which can be deciphered through the shift of color. The topography expands or shrinks to regulate the flux of users and disappears whenever the didactic projection is on. The visitors will find themselves immersed in a space filled with sounds, lights, and videos which interact with each other, in a scenario which allows them to live the experience of being in the bottom of the sea. One of the key features of this experience is the projected mapping, which gives vitality to part of the installation by showing the vibrating water. Thus, Hesperides’ scientific research finally turns into a liquid luminescent landscape which recalls the abyss. 

4. In the last room, a Dymaxion 11m map presents Hesperides’ discoveries. Once more, the enclosed water is the generative and informative pixel within the installation. On an unfolded world map the data collected by the Malaspina expedition all over the Earth are projected. The mapping contributes to generate a magical, moving atmosphere which fills the space around. In this room, the visitors will be, once more, hypnotized by lights, sounds, and colors.

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