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A magrittean retreat in the Brazilian forest.

Some days ago, I stumbled upon a series of photos taken by René Magritte and his wife Georgette. In a play between art and reality, Magritte was posing with a painting covering his face, snapped funny portraits of his wife with two parrots, took pictures of Paul Nougé on the beach with a pipe in his left hand and a chessboard on its head. The pipe, the chessboard, the objects in place of the face are all very magrittean images, challenging observers' preconditioned perceptions of reality.

This the same kind of interplay that we see in MAPA's MINIMOD video, shot inside the Curucaca Valley, mountain region of southern Brazil. The landscape of this valley is characterized by its intense visuals and a rugged topography, covered by the typical vegetation of the Brazilian Atlantic forest. It is here that lies MINIMOD, inside a clearing in the middle of this dense forest landscape, next to a steep gorge that offers a stunning view of the valley.

The video for this retreat (with a contemporary twist) alternates images from the building and its surroundings with three paintings by René Magritte himself: "Spring in the forest", "The human condition" and "The waterfall". And it is easy to understand why: the large glass façade encircling the structure creates a porous threshold with the exterior, capturing the essence of this project. The perception of inside and outside is, indeed, challenged.

When asked about the decision to film their project, Lucas Marques, one of the architects working at MAPA, tells us that: "Producing small films and the use of moving images has recently entered the reality of MAPA's practice. Even though the format is still relatively new to us, it has revealed itself to have great potential in capturing the intricacies of the relationship that some of our architectural projects, like MINIMOD Curucaca, have with nature and landscapes."

He adds: "The interchanges between object and environment, interior and exterior, are greatly enhanced when captured through the specific sensibilities of moving pictures. Small films and videos offered us a special way of understanding and showcasing ways in which our MINIMOD projects - that are designed and planned as prefabricated devices meant to harness the potential of new and old technologies - interact with the untouched landscapes that surround it."

What's more is that MINIMOD is designed as an alternative to traditional construction, based on a prefabricated plug&play logic: a portable (or kind of) remote-landscape experience.

(Story by Sara Marzullo, The Architecture Player)


Architect: MAPA
Mentioned project: MINIMOD (2018)
Project location: Curucaca, Sc, Brazil
Production: MAPA
Music: Schubert Trio Op. 100 - performed by Ralph Holmes, Morat Welsh, Antony Goldstone
Art images: Rene Magritte - "Spring in the forest"; "The human condition; "The waterfall"

Brazil 2018
Duration: 1'41"