Enter The Void

Edited by: Enrico Mancini

Architecture: Guillaume Mazars Architecture

Where: worlds of El Lissitzky competition, Russia

Proof reading: Bianca Baroni

When you are an architect, a designer, an artist or simply a creative person, you think your ideas are just great.

Then it happens that while you’re browsing around on the internet suddenly you’re hit in the face by a glove of envy when you come across something that is exactly your “one-day-I’ll-do-that” idea but far better done and, what hurts most, far, far more simple.


I’ve always wanted to explore the hidden relevance of scaffolding in architecture. Its implications in the meaning of time and presence.

It’s something you feel when you look at a scaffold structure: brutal but undefined, uncertain but strong, temporary but firm, solid but void.


One of the all times favourite worst nightmare for architects is how to explore the meanings of absence.

From Piranesi to Koolhaas, from Michelangelo to Van der Rohe, the dichotomy between the solid and the void has always been a generator of architecture’s masterpieces.

The by-now-superpop sentence “less is more” is just the most famous expression of this eternal duel.

So here comes our  Guillaume Mazars with his 2nd price entry proposal for an “Open international competition for the architectural concept of the symbolic object of city environment dedicated to Russian avant-garde worlds of El Lissitzky.”




diagram 2


From his words: “The proposal is to establish a monument echoing the various works of El Lissitzky. The aim is to make perceptible the notion of space and depth with a three-dimensional structure. This system will be the tool to reveal emptiness, depth, projections…
At first, this system offers to reveal the absence, or in other words the un-built. The wolkenbrugel is one of the most famous projects of El Lissitzky, but unfortunately without physical manifestation. The project consists of a three-dimensional orthogonal grid conform of the size of wolkenbrugel. Then, by subtracting, in the manner of molding, we will reconstruct the spatial presence of El Lissitzky project without physically reconstruct itself, the imaginary project remains invisible but perceptible. From this imprint, it is the imagination of the visitor who completes the virtual projection of the monument.
At night, a light network reveals the virtual contours of the Wolkenbrugel. The bright spots distributed throughout the structure are also a dynamic support for interventions of invited artists.
In a second step the frame is a structural support for the staging of graphic lines. Various structural elements painted red, a color most used by El Lissitzky, creates a unique graphic composition according to each viewpoint. These red lines placed in space together, form various graphic compositions. By displacement, the visitor built and deconstructed these compositions and appears depths. These red lines define the space.


With this work Mazars conveys the timeless theoretical construct of absence, combining it with the use of scaffoling, which is a tangibile, practical tool, very usual in our city’s environment, making it become the metaphore of our complex and always dramatically changing contemporaneity.







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