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Holy Water

In honor of ARCO, the main contemporary art fair on the international circuit, the VP Plaza España Design features one of the tallest and most complex interior sculptures in Europe: a waterfall that doesn’t have any water. Created by Pere Gifre, InspireDesign recently caught up with the artist and engineer behind the installation, who shared his inspirations, design process and innovative techniques:

What served as your inspiration behind the sculpture’s design?
My inspiration came from thinking about how to connect the pool to the atrium. I knew that the sculpture would be seen through the pool and there had to be a connection. Already in the first meeting with Javier Perez Jimenez, manager of VP Hotels Group, I saw clearly that the connection would be a waterfall—a waterfall simulating the water of the pool falling through the atrium of the hotel to the ground 82 ft. from the original point. Like any waterfall, the sculpture begins from the top down and not the other way around as is most logical in sculptures. Its maximum strength, however, lies in the final impact of the water on the ground. Many forms of waterfalls were designed, but I knew from the beginning that the concept for this space would be a waterfall.

How does innovation inspire you? How is this waterfall innovative?
All of our sculptures are based on innovation and continuous search for new techniques and materials to create spaces as unique as possible. We recreate water, which is our iconicity, trying to mimic it with all its physical properties in the most realistic way possible, but transforming it into space, as we see fit. There is a very technical and engineering part in our sculptures to be able to recreate what we want in an exact, precise and credible way, but in the end, everything comes out of the mind and many hours of paper and pencil in thinking how to realize your idea. This waterfall is innovative and avant-garde for its complexity, finish, originality and height, being one of the highest and most complex interior sculptures in the world with its 82-ft. height.

How is lighting used to create effects on the waterfall?
The lighting in the art pieces, or any space with which you want to provoke something to the spectator, is fundamental. We understood it that way from the beginning. We wanted to create some theatricality with the changes of lights and shadows but, at the same time, give an almost cathedral-like image when you put yourself in front of it. This is one of the comments that we have been told more about and are most proud of because it is what we were looking for when we made the sculpture and it seems that we achieved it.

On the other hand, being able to change a lot the colors with which it is illuminated and its intensity allows the hotel to vary the tone of the sculpture depending on the event or day of the year that is celebrated and whose message is reflected in one or more colors. Some light animations were also programmed that change the concept completely, going from the blue tones of the sea floor to the reddish yellowish tones that simulate lava, in an instant.

What’s going to surprise guests? How do you hope this inspires them?
We were looking for the surprise effect, and I think we have achieved it because of the success that sculpture has had among people. As for the inspiration, it depends on each person and the place where you see the sculpture, perspective, the light of the moment and the color. For example, as I said, white light from below gives a cathedral look, but from the terrace of the Ginkgo Sky Bar and through the pool it looks like a whale in the depths. My favorite time to see it is in natural light, only illuminated by the sun’s rays that enter the pool, giving it a unique drama.

Why is VP Plaza España Design a great vehicle to display this piece?
VP Plaza España Design is the new five-star hotel of reference in Madrid and it is also the hotel with the largest number of works of art, with a total of 300. I can’t imagine a better place to have this sculpture than in a hotel where art is valued in this way, being a reference in the sector.