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La Biennale di Venezia

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Satellights: Orbiting the Thin Layer of Human Life

  • TUE - SUN
    22/05 > 31/07
    11 AM - 7 PM

    01/08 > 21/11
    10 AM - 6 PM
  • Central Pavilion
  • Admission with ticket

Angelo Bucci (Brazilian b.1963) of spbr arquitetos (Brazil, est.2003)



A perfect, stainless-steel circle built in the middle room represents the thin layer of human life on Earth. Its thickness is based on the inhabitable realm of the planet, a shallow zone given by the topographical difference of 5,098 meters between the highest and the lowest human settlements. Against the diameter of the Earth, at a scale of 1:5,000,000, the surface that humans occupy is only 1mm thick. This fine and fragile line is the field we can live in, the evidence of a project under construction for thousands of years, the very confirmation of modernity. Mirroring the planet’s surface at 37,786 km above sea level, another line, the so-called Clarke Orbit, maintains any object in its orbit aligned to any fixed location on Earth. It is in this zone that this project imagines the possibility of geostationary satellights artificial sources of light powerful enough to light entire cities. Taking São Paulo as a case-study, a pair of satellights of 250 megawatts orbiting on Clark, would bring light to 21 million people, replacing millions of light bulbs, thousands of kilometers of cables, and hundreds of thousands of light poles.

Biennale Sneak Peek

Image 1 – How will we live together?
The thin layer of the human life.
3.5 km thick between inner and outer circles, with a radius of 6,371 km for the inner circle.


Image 2 – Sneak peek of the project
Satellights orbiting over the extremely thin layer of life.

Production credits

Exhibition Design: spbr in collaboration with: Ciro Miguel, Felipe Barradas, Lucas Roca
Video Animation: Jenny Rodenhouse based on Angelo Bucci’s drawings for the exhibition Terrestrial Tales: 100+ Takes on Earth, curated by: Marc Angélil et al., ETH Zurich, 2019
Production: Marco Ballarin
Model Structural Engineer: Andrea Pedrazzini
Model Fabrication: Claudio Moreno, Andrea Pedrazzini

Central Pavilion
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Biennale Architettura
Biennale Architettura