Art and architecture have always gone hand in hand, and when a renowned contemporary artist decides to recreate his architectural work, the result is something truly spectacular.
In the heart of Montemor-o-Novo comes Ai Weiwei’s Atelier, a creation that combines the tradition of wood construction with the innovation of the digital and technological age, by the hands of PORTILAME.
A View of Art and Architecture
Ai Weiwei is known for his outstanding contributions to the world of visual arts and his political activism. However, his incessant search for the meaning of art led him to realise a surprising project: the construction of a studio that is both a great work of art and an architectural marvel.
The building has a square shape reminiscent of traditional Chinese architecture, with a partially covered central courtyard. But make no mistake, simplicity of form is where standards end. Atelier Ai Weiwei is a celebration of wood as a building material, challenging traditional techniques and incorporating modernity into every detail.
Solid Wood as a Protagonist
The choice to use solid Douglas fir wood (Pseudotsuga) for the construction of this studio is a declaration of love for tradition and nature. More than 5,000 structural pieces of wood were skilfully processed and shaped to create this masterpiece. Each piece bears the fingerprint of human craftsmanship, combining the power of technology with the artisanal touch.
The process of creating this atelier was a journey of innovation and creativity. Full-scale prototypes were developed, where the notches, sections and fittings were tested and perfected by the Viana do Castelo company. The search for perfection was relentless and the result is a structure that defies expectations and standards.
From concept to reality
The complex supply chain and the need for meticulous coordination were overcome with determination and careful planning.
Manual labour and the precision of machinery have come together to transform raw wood into a structure of astonishing beauty. The round pillars, in particular, were carved by hand, demonstrating the dedication to quality and the uniqueness of this project.
A masterpiece for eternity
Ai Weiwei’s Atelier is more than just a building; it is an artistic and architectural statement that transcends time. It’s a reminder that even in the digital and technological era, beauty and creativity can find expression in tradition and nature. This studio is a true work of art that inspires us to push the boundaries and embrace the beauty of simplicity and complexity, all in one place.
Follow the entire creation.
Photography – Diogo Meira