vicente spinola`s totem installation stacks reflective semispheres, pondering the climate crisis

Designboom_ Vicente Spínola’s architectural installation Two Point Five Planets took center stage at this year’s Festival des Architectures Vives in Montpellier as a commentary on the impending climate crisis. The Portugal-based architect’s proposal marked an historic French courtyard with a reference to the fragility of equilibriums in our planet and systems. With its totem like form composed of a series of stacked, reflective semispheres, the installation ponders the effects of our excessive exploitation of our planet’s resources, symbolizing that, in order to sustain the average European’s current lifestyle, we would require Two Point Five Planets.

Aligned with this year’s festival’s theme, the Sacred, the installation draws inspiration from the totem, a shape revered by many ancestral cultures in history. Architect Vicente Spínola’s creation is materialized as a totem comprising five half-spheres stacked vertically and asymmetrically. The deliberate fragility of the structure mirrors the delicate balance of our planet’s systems, wherein different forces continuously collaborate to sustain the harmony of our vital surface and, in turn, ensure our existence.

Two Point Five Planets incorporates a reflective surface within the sections of the semispheres which reacts to the play of natural light and introduces a phenomenological element into the installation. This adds an interactive dimension to the piece as it responds to the ever-changing weather, in dialogue with sunlight and clouds in the courtyard where it sits. This notion, though alarming, reinforces the urgent need to address our planet’s ecological challenges by becoming an agent of change towards restoring balance of the vital system.