Every four years, the "Centre des Monuments Nationaux" (France) promotes an intervention from an architect, in "L` Abbeye du Thoronet, Provence". This event is commissioned by Dominique Machabert (Architecture journalist). After John Pawson, Alvaro Siza and others, this year the task was assigned to the Pritzker Prize Awarded 2011 Portuguese Architect Eduardo Souto Moura. The signage project was a part of the intervention on the Abbey.
The main goal of this project was to effectively change the path that is currently taken by visitors while exploring the building and it's surroundings, with the path suggested by the architect Eduardo Souto Moura. We designed 10 pieces of 10mm thick water jet die-cuted aluminum from a single plate. Each plate has a number that keeps the visitor directed and oriented. The plates's structure consists in two surfaces (positive and negative), welded in an angle, maintaining both the positive (cut piece) lifted so it can be read, and the negative (cut-out piece) on the ground working as a base, connecting the whole concept of the project to the philosophy behind the Cistercian order, by its purity, harmony, and lack of decoration or ornament.
This "typographic installation", as our client called it, gained life once put in place, and satisfied in the conceptual and formal degrees. The signage system fit perfectly to the body and soul, light and dark of the site. In fact, even Nature showed it's acceptance to the new garments and kindly "cuddled" them. Both newborn plants and ancient soil fused together with the pieces, revealing a non-obstructive, natural, but still functional solution.