Every year, the city of Valencia hosts the Fallas Festival, a unique Spanish fiesta in which temporary urban monuments are built and then set ablaze. For this year's festival, design firm bipolaire arquitectos put together the Solaris project, a workshop that asked kids between the ages of 4 and 7 to build a miniature city out of wood castoffs. The goal of the project was to showcase the creative power of children in an analog world as opposed to the digital realm.
Held every March to welcome the spring season, the annual Fallas Festival is Valencia’s biggest and most vibrant event. The noisy and gunpowder-filled celebration gets its origins from the time carpenters cleared out wood castoffs from their workshops and lit them ablaze. Similarly, the Solaris city project is built from wood waste from carpenters’ workshops, however, goes a step further to make a statement about how too much exposure to popular digital mediums can stifle children’s creativity.
“Technology has provided children instant enjoyment but has cornered the germ of childhood creation,” writes Jose Francisco Carsí. “Children have seen their cities anesthetizing and directing them to a passive attitude. [They are] cornered in their homes, living within the limits imposed by a comfortable technology, by a city that is an enemy of its [own] development…We do not want our children to grow anesthetized with these limits, we have to give them the playing tools to break them.” Solaris gave its young participants the freedom arrange and glue together the wooden pieces in whichever way they saw fit.
Images via Pink Intruder, © Noel Arraiz García