top of page
Screen Shot 2021-06-02 at 11.47.28

The Project

BEAUTIFUL FAILURES, Discarded glass and the Barcelona Pavilion

Mies Van der Rohe & Lily Reich Pavilion - Barcelona, Spain

15 - 18 April 2021

Beautiful Failures is the story of construction-destruction-construction that reflects on the rich history of the Barcelona Pavilion, decoding and rethinking its architecture based on its materiality and offering new readings of the pavilion’s nature.

By cataloguing and installing more than 2,000 defective glass pieces collected from glassblowing workshops around Barcelona, we explore the transparency and reflectiveness
of glass - material capabilities that revolutionized modern architecture at the beginning of the 20th century, epitomized by the Barcelona Pavilion.

The resulting installation and arrangement of glass upon lifted travertine is a complete disturbance of the intended free- flowing movement of the Pavilion. The glass and voids in the floor obstruct natural movement, challenging the visitor to pause and observe the spaces through a new perspective.

Screen Shot 2021-06-05 at 7.06.56 PM.png

Glass Families

Beautiful Failures is a collection of discarded hand blown glass pieces.

The process started with collecting around 2000 borosilicate glass pieces from craft studios in Barcelona. Those were
then sorted and divided into families based on common morphological characteristics. Seventeen families were formed, each given a strong historical woman’s name with a back story related to its morphology.

The choice of relating these glass families to women was first concerning the shapes and forms of the pieces. Second, regarding the care and delicacy of handling the glass pieces throughout the process, they almost had a soul. Lastly, a strength lived on in them. Naturally, their stories reflected the same aspects, therefore referring to them as goddesses, muses, and famous women’s names.

Glass Photos and Editing : Joelle Nader

Traditional Chinese Drawings: Yunling Jin


On February 20, 2020, sound recordings were made at Ferran Collado’s borosilicate glass studio at Galileo 163, Barcelona, with a glass blowing torch. Later, collected glass failures from the same place were recorded being subjected to glass “life events” such as pressure, vibrations, falls, impact, scratches and cracks.

Together they formed the basis for what would become a musical narrative on the life cycle of glass in two interrelated parts dealing with its life and death.

Screen Shot 2021-06-05 at 9.29.02 PM.png

Student bedroom reflected on discarded glass

Screen Shot 2021-06-05 at 9.29.22 PM.png

Grey: Audio track Black: Singular audio element

The music score was then adapted to the pavilion planimetry generating a mediation device that allows information exchange between music, glass and exhibition space. The highlighted markers in the music composition now signal specific intervention opportunities on the architectural space.

Screen Shot 2021-06-05 at 9.27.55 PM.png
Screen Shot 2021-06-05 at 7.06.07 PM.png

Travertine Failure

Following the exploration of the glass from outside the pavilion, we commenced a material study of the travertine slabs inside the pavilion.

Using the mediation plan created from the glass study, we focused on the 17 slabs marked for invention opportunities. The group generated large-scale frottages with paper and graphite, foil imprints, and clay molded details.

Screen Shot 2021-06-05 at 10.34.18 PM co


The intervention plan was a coming-together of the musical score, the terrains, and the glass families.

Centralized around the 17 slabs marked for the intervention, these slabs are lifted to varying degrees exposing the voids beneath for the first time. The following plans demonstrate the clay terrain’s influence on the intervention installation decisions.

Screen Shot 2021-06-05 at 9.47.06 PM.png
Screen Shot 2021-06-05 at 10.04.19

Pop-up at the Pavilion

Photo Credits: Judith Solé

Under the direction of Toni Montes and Roger Paez
In Collaboration with Stella Rahola and Mies Van der Rohe Foundation

bottom of page