Mies Makeover: Artists Cover Barcelona Pavilion’s Marble Walls with White

A minimalist icon by Mies van der Rohe is becoming even more minimal thanks to a series of vinyl screens installed over its ornate marble walls, making the full-size building look like a blown-up miniature model.

Spanish architects and artists Anna and Eugeni Bach are behind this temporary Mies Missing Materiality installation at the Barcelona Pavilion, installing white vinyl screens to compliment the simplicity of the steel-and-glass structure.

Like the marble panels, dividing lines in the applied surfaces create a ‘mirroring’ effect, evoking a sense of symmetry across the horizontal axis like a reflective plane floating in space.

“This simple act turns the pavilion into a 1:1 scale mock-up, a representation of itself that opens the door to multiple interpretations about aspects like the value of the original, the role of the white surface as an image of modernity, and the importance of materiality in the perception of space,” say the designers. In a way, the building is more “Modern” than ever (Le Corbusier would likely approve).

“The installation turns this paradox into an experience. It helps visitors to consider these ideas and many more through their own experience in a pavilion that will lose all trace of its materiality for a few days to assume all its representative potential.”

Purists may see this as architectural sacrilege, but the it will be taken back down after just one week in late November (and it’s worth noting that the pavilion as it stands is already a recreation, not the original from the Barcelona Expo of 1929). It is also not the first of its kind – this structure is no stranger to strange installations by artists including Ai Weiwei.