Agora Valencia, the pavilion of World Design Capital Valencia 2022, opens its doors to the public in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, and undertakes its own program of activities as the nerve center of the design capital
Coinciding with its official opening to the public after two months of works in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, Agora Valencia has unveiled today its own calendar of transversal activities for all audiences that will keep it alive as a link between citizens and the design capital. It will be from the heart of the city that these new activities will be carried out and that will be added to the more than 200 already programmed initiatives among workshops, exhibitions, conferences and meetings throughout the Valencia Region.
Agora Valencia is a project of World Design Capital Valencia 2022 and the Valencia City Council, which has the support of the Provincial Council of Valencia, La Marina de València and the companies Inalco, Wandegar and iGuzzini, and takes over from the pavilions that back in the day they were built in other capitals such as Helsinki or Taipei.
Miguel Arraiz, architect, creator and project director of World Design Capital Valencia 2022, is responsible for the architectural project of Agora Valencia, together with Arqueha Arquitectura y Urbanismo, in charge of technical development, and with the advice of Cosín Estudio.
The purpose of Agora Valencia is reflected in the materials and manufacturing of the venue and in its construction, which fuses tradition and avant-garde, crafts and industry, using only wooden rods and a material similar to ceramics known as MDi. The construction of the pavilion has seen the participation of companies such as Inalco, Wandegar and iGuzzini, and studios and professionals such as Manolo García Carpintería Artística, Radiante Creative Studio, ATG Desarrollos, Josep Martí and Quatre Caps.
With the opening of Agora Valencia, the city celebrates with its inhabitants and visitors its status as the global epicenter of design, and gains a new venue open to citizens as a legacy of the transformative force of design. A place open to all of society designed to bring design and creative talent from the entire Valencia Region closer to the general public.
At the opening ceremony, Mayor Joan Ribó stated that: “Starting today, our Plaza del Ayuntamiento has a new building to admire and enjoy. Agora Valencia tells a lot about what we are, with an architecture that speaks of the Valencian industry through its ceramics, of the waves of the sea through its roof, which is, in turn, a tribute to our festivals: the Fallas. A place of shade and meeting, of comfort and information, where its design invites everyone who passes by to make it their own. A space that also offers the first shade of the square. Moreover, its design and architecture, the materials that compose it, guarantee a much more pleasant thermal sensation than in the rest of the square.”
Why did Valencia need a pavilion?
Following in the footsteps of the pavilions that other world capitals of design such as Helsinki (2012) or Taipei (2016) built as the heart of their program, where design can be seen and experienced, València takes advantage of the opportunity to bring design and its transversality closer to the public, companies and institutions from their own venue.
Since the official designation by the World Design Organization®, València knew that it should have, not only a central venue to inform about the program of the World Design Capital 2022, but also a meeting point that would connect it with people. For this reason, we imagined a place in the heart of the city where the story of Valencian design could be told, which is that of its industry, that of craftsmanship and that of the structuring of an entire territory, and to do so with a future towards sustainability and materials.
“The city of Valencia as we know it is the result of more than a century of design. Urban, architectural, artistic, product, interior and graphic design that has allowed it to earn its place as a city with a global vocation”, said Xavi Calvo, director of World Design Capital Valencia 2022. “In Agora Valencia we bring together the Valencian society, tourism, people... to encourage everyone to participate and to know what we are from our own venue. A place from which to become aware of the presence of design in our daily lives, its role in the city model we want, and its importance in the projection of our industry and economy into the future.”
Own program of activities opens to all audiences
Agora Valencia has been conceived as the strategic nerve center of the World Design Capital Valencia 2022 program, in order to reinforce the scope of the countless projects, exhibitions, talks and meetings that take place every day in all corners of the city. In this way, from this month of June onwards, it stands as a meeting point from which locals and visitors alike can enjoy Valencian design and get to know professionals, entities, institutions and companies rooted in the culture of creativity and innovation.
This venue is a central meeting point where you can learn about the World Design Capital Valencia 2022 program and, at the same time, a point of transmission and exchange of ideas, an open forum for round tables, conferences and presentations on design, as well as for the educational workshops and both social and professional meetings.
The program, which is growing month by month, presents a continuous activity for the little ones with children's workshops for families on weekends. Also, debates on how design improves people's lives will bring together both specialists and citizens who want to join these days. Meetings to reflect on the transversality of design in areas as disparate as urban planning, ecology, international projection, the image of the city, sustainable growth or internationalization.
The Agora program will include collaborations with other entities, such as La Marina de Valencia, which will present musical and artistic proposals every Thursday in July and August with its own cycle of activities under the title “Els dijous a la Marina”. The Agora will, in turn, be a space for valuing Valencian creativity, through meetings with the media, live radio programmes, professional presentations or more casual meetings.
In the month of June alone, Agora begins an active program of activities starting on the 22nd at 10:30 a.m. with the “Presentation and Analysis of the Ethics Code of Design READ”, organized by READ the Spanish Network of Design Associations. This code has been created based on the analysis of 24 deontological codes of associations around the world, the study of codes from other professional fields, the reading of bibliography on applied ethics and participatory processes with people associated or related to READ.
On Wednesday 22 at 7:30 p.m., the pavilion will host the première of the trailer for “Tocadas”, a documentary series produced by Anacaona Productions where creatives, artists and artisans behind the most influential Spanish brands are interviewed. Its creator, the multidisciplinary architect and designer Lola Rúa, proposes that the viewer feel that they are part of intimate conversations with individuals who have evidenced the connection between beauty and business, serving as an inspiring and educational tool for the public. The first season of “Tocadas” will premiere on Instagram and focuses on recovering lost values in the post-COVID era, such as time or physical encounters.
On the other hand, and under the umbrella of its “The New Habitat” project, APE Grupo will hold a presentation and round table at Agora Valencia on June 28 at 10:00 a.m. in which the design trends of spaces in the post-pandemic reality.
On June 29, International Industrial Design Day by designation of the World Design Organization, Agora Valencia will dress up to celebrate its inaugural party, premiering the light show by Radiante Lab that will make it shine every sunset. On this occasion, the designer Ausias Pérez and the versatile artist Dano will present their Letterism™ project, a global community where hundreds of collaborators contribute to preserving typographic heritage.
The Finnish company Artek joins the celebration of World Design Capital Valencia 2022 and sponsors the screening of a documentary about Alvar Aalto at Agora Valencia. On June 30 at 7:30 p.m., “Aalto” will be screened, a documentary about the Finnish architect made by director Virpi Suutari. In his tour of international film festivals, the applause has been unanimous. Next, eight short films will broaden the perspective of this master of modern architecture.
A complete agenda of activities with EMTRE Metropolitan Entity for Waste Treatment will host some events during the months of June and July to reflect on the role of design in the field of recycling and waste removal. Children's workshops, round tables and other activities that will value the role of design in the field of sustainability.
Alluding to the year of the design capital status, the 22nd of each month will be, from July, a meeting day for citizens, institutions and professionals who, under the same theme, will be able to debate in the “Design and city” meetings around how design improves people's lives.
Valencian craftsmanship, innovation, industry, light and talent, axes of the architectural project
“From the beginning we presented the project as a gift for the present and future of Valencia, putting people at the center”, explained Miguel Arraiz. “In this unique opportunity to bring design and its transversality closer to citizens, companies and institutions, Agora Valencia investigates the materials and the craft tradition of our territory. In addition to extolling the Valencian roots, which describe a way of doing things, the materials and construction systems that allow the modular and removable format of the pavilion constitute a determined commitment to circularity and durability.”
With an area of 350 square meters, this modular pavilion tells the story of a renowned design born on the shores of the Mediterranean, of materials arising from ceramic innovation and traditions such as the “vareta” by the artist Manolo García.
Agora Valencia consists of a structure with dimensions in plan of 24 by 10 meters and a height of 9 meters. The building is covered with a skin developed by the companies Inalco and Wandegar from pieces of MDI placed perpendicularly on the façade to filter the light as the hours go by. In fact, light has been treated as one more construction material, and other elements such as the upper deck, of great aesthetic power, also contribute to this.
The piece of brace that roofs the pavilion is made by Manolo García, master carpentry and Fallas artist who returns to the square where he has “planted” his creations so many times. This element simulates the waves of the Mediterranean Sea in reference to the city as a historical point of union between different cultures.
The Inalco signature is present on the façade and ceiling, designed with MDi from the Silk Blanco collection. MDi (Minerals, Design, Innovation) is an innovative surface, developed with the purest minerals, which allows body and surface to present total aesthetic continuity. MDi is a sustainable product as it is formulated with 50% recycled material from its own process. Likewise, its Full Digital technology, unique in its sector worldwide, saves 70% of water and avoids the use of solvents.
For its part, the engineering company for innovative technical applications for ceramic ceilings Wandegar has faced the Agora Valencia project as a real challenge, for which it has devised an architectural envelope solution that stands out for its simplicity and lightness without compromising safety or the modularity of the format.
The Arqueha studio, coordinator of Plan Zero for the climate transition of three neighborhoods in the city of Valencia, has been in charge of carrying out the technical development of the project by applying prefabrication and sustainability parameters. With the use of digital tools such as BIM, together with parametric design, all the components of the building have been solved in an industrialized manner, making each of the frames that support the slats unique, prefabricated and removable.
Agora Valencia is also a space that has been conceived following thermal comfort strategies. Its design takes into account climatic variables such as air circulation and solar radiation, and directly influences the improvement of the feeling of comfort in relation to the rest of the square. The solar protection formed by the skin of vertical slats, manages to reduce the amount of solar radiation coming from the east and west, while the wooden roof acts in a similar way with the light coming from the south, allowing in any case the natural ventilation of the building. The sum of solar protection and ventilation, manage to lower the comfort temperature inside the pavilion by up to 10 degrees compared to any other point in the square, and all this without energy input and therefore with 0 CO2 emissions.
Every evening from June 29, an artistic and immersive lighting installation created by the Radiante creative studio, will turn the pavilion into a great lighthouse as a symbol of the pride of the entire city of Valencia for being the World Design Capital.
Architects: Miguel Arraiz
Advice: COSÍN STUDIO
Structuralist: JOSEP MARTÍ
Construction company: ATG DEVELOPMENTS
Cover: MANOLO GARCÍA ARTISTIC CARPENTRY
Envelope: INALCO + WANDEGAR
Lighting: RADIANTE CREATIVE STUDIO
3D and CGI Visualizations: QUATRE CAPS
Photographers: David Zarzoso & Nerea Coll