The cardboard box is an iconic element of the urban visual vocabulary, and inherent within its symbolic lexicon is its enabling of nomadism; it is most often found as a container for moving objects, whether from an old home to a new one or from truck to store, though it is also an important visual stand-in for true urban nomadism as the shelter of choice for the rootless and homeless.
In his installation BOOMBOX, French designer Stéphane Malka sought to contrast the instability and transience inherent in cardboard boxes with the solidity and permanence of urban stone blocks, the major component of old buildings in Barcelona, the site of the installation. He coats architectural surfaces with hundreds of these quotidian boxes, which then take on the aspect of some sort of crystal growing from rock, or lichen on bark. Thus, the part of the city which is constantly in flux invades and converts the built form into something which can also move and change.
Of course, even the installation itself changes. Originally brought about with the help of Arts Santa Monica, BOOMBOX evolved into BOOMBOX”luz for the eme3 architecture/urbanism festival. Here, the work took on another level of transience as video and images were projected onto the boxes, fracturing and distorting upon their multitudinous faces, and transforming the space of the installation into a new world of fantasy and illusion.
This post originally appeared on Architizer, an Atlantic partner site.