Francisco Aires Mateus, Manuel Aires Mateus
The ‘magic carpet’ image and first sketches we received for this FREESPACE proposal were beautiful and playful like a children’s story book igniting the imagination. The island of Laputa (Gulliver’s Travels) also came to mind suggesting the image of the Mateus Atelier as a floating island inhabited by intellectuals obsessed by mathematics, astronomy, music and technology. The built work of Aires Mateus manifests a refinement of thought, of form, of architectural language. The work is very much grounded in reality, in real issues, in real places, in the use of real materials with respect and sensitivity. Their sketches describe what the Smithsons called the “charged void”, the in-between spaces where anything can happen as in their museum of photography and applied arts in Lausanne.
All the sketches showed the scale of a human being, either as a spectator or as an inhabitant. This reflects their ethical belief that “architecture works principally for life”. The installation made with their students they describe as “a sensitive reflection, poetic and mathematical, about space”. Embedded in the love of the physicality and materiality of architecture, this space produced by their students exerts a poetic purity and presence so appropriate in the wonderful space of the Artiglierie.