The exhibition by photographer Sebastião Salgado will take place as part of Water Week, in partnership with UNESCO. An event planned in the heart of a monumental bamboo pavilion, signed by the Colombian architect Simón Vélez. 

From April 1st and for a period of 6 months, the forecourt of La Défense will host the artistic installation AQUA MATER, a unique natural structure of 1000 m2 in bamboo exhibiting an unpublished collection of photographs by the Franco-Brazilian artist Sebastião Salgado. on the topic of water. A true ode to the fragility of water, the Guadua pavilion from Amazonia offers a singular natural setting for the photographs of Sebastião Salgado, reminding us how subtle the balance of nature remains. 

An invitation to travel but also to contemplation, AQUA MATER offers a sensory and spiritual experience. Subdued lighting, musical and sound ambiance by the composer François-Bernard Mâche, tropical mist plunge visitors into an atmosphere of serenity. A privileged setting to invite them to question and raise their awareness of the environmental issues of today and tomorrow. AQUA MATER continues its roaming in France in the heart of the largest business district in Europe. The choice of the forecourt of La Défense is not insignificant, offering an original architectural confrontation between natural architecture and steel construction. A striking contrast that deeply questions our relationship to the Earth and to Life

Colombian architect, Simón Vélez declines complex structures in bamboo. He practices an architecture that assumes its roots in indigenous materials, taken from nature and little transformed. The AQUA MATER Pavilion is inspired by the Amerindian malocas: large constructions of wooden pillars, with a roof made of palm leaves and hammocks for only furniture. This unique natural architecture is a tribute to this ancestral concept where the whole community lives in perfect balance with its environment. The Pavilion is designed with Guadua bamboo from the Amazon, the most abundant renewable forest resource in Colombia, using a construction technique that involves filling the bamboo internodes with cement mortar at structural intersections. Guadua is stronger than steel, can generate more biomass than any other crop, and has a unique ability to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and produce oxygen.


From April 1 to September 22, 2022 

Defense forecourt


Visuals © Contemplation Endowment Fund



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