julia schulz-dornburg

arquitecto

"Cultura Catalana Singular i Universal”.
Book Fair, Frankfurt

The guest of honour exhibition “Catalan Culture, Singular and Universal” at the book fair in Frankfurt is divided in two, clearly distinguishable parts. A large curved double sided partition separates the proper exhibition area from the surrounding open space dedicated to different related activities.

The central space, with controlled lighting conditions, is dedicated to the history of Catalan language, literature and publishing. Horizontal glass cabinets with delicate original manuscripts on various levels, vertical backlit graphic panels and multi screen audio-visuals are the principal players in the museographic part of the exhibition protected by the curved wall. A sequence of double sided modular units make up this large spiral wall that expands from the central exhibition core out towards the rest of the surrounding space dedicated to living Catalan writers and their books.

The exterior face of the spiral forms a large library with shelves full of consultable books on Catalan culture, surrounded by a wide, open area with natural light and views over the square. Comfortable seating and low bookshelves spread throughout this space, invite the visitor to consult and read the books on offer, to meet up or to have a rest as well as to listen to the readings of books and poetry on the adjoining small stage.

The key element of the exhibition design is the “flying books installation”. A forest of suspended “books” reduces the excessive height of the hall, connects the different exhibition areas and creates a unifying visual entity. Not unlike a large expanding cloud made up from words and concepts related to the Catalan culture, the “flying books” celebrate the presentation of a minority language to the world.