Floating installation Insola / Federico Forestiero + Fiete Wulff
Text description provided by the architects. Insola is a floating space for art, music and performance in central Berlin. This blue urban installation is a flexible platform, it can be converted from an art gallery, to a mobile music room, yoga studio or live performance stage. This project aims to generate new urban interactions between artists and open-minded people, maintaining a vibrant cultural scene in the city.
The scarcity of creative spaces in Berlin is a bitter reality. The culture is dying out and has been pushed by gentrification to the edges of the city. The Insola is a step in the opposite direction, a passage from land to water to restore cultural activities within the city limits. This project is a statement for the reappropriation of urban spaces against the diffuse process of gentrification underway in Berlin.
We designed the space as a blue frame offering a flexible architectural artifact that adapts its structure to various events. In addition, the Insola can be moved to different locations with a small motor, making it a mobile urban installation. The idea was to create a landmark recognizable from afar but still blending into the water and sky.
The Insola is a 12 m2 (3×4) square platform with eight vertical pipes that extend up to 3.5 meters from the floating line. In addition, 4 pipes raise another 3.5 meters to reach a total height of 7.0 meters. Thanks to the materials chosen, we have designed a flexible space that can be adapted to different occasions and events. The structure is divided into three main parts: a floating dock, a main frame and a wooden deck. The floating dock is assembled from plastic pontoons guaranteed to last 20 years in the water with 4 tons of floating capacity. The main frame is a combination of hollow aluminum pipes and connectors originally produced for scaffolding. Being a simple system, the structure can be quickly reconfigured several times according to different needs. The wooden decking is made up of 15mm blue pressure treated panels on a series of square section wooden beams. Fixings and hardware are all galvanized or stainless steel to resist weathering and permanent contact with water. To reinforce the idea of community space, we brought together locals and foreigners to help us during the construction phase.
Berlin is a city of water; until industrialization the main means of transport was water, now there are over 180 kilometers of waterways within the city limits. Many consider the River Spree to be the heart and soul of the city. In summer, the river fills with locals and tourists who relax and play sports near the water channels. In this scenario, Rummelsburger Bay is a 1.6 km long bay connected to the river. This large bay is located between the district of Friedrichshain and Lichtenberg. Surrounded by new and old residential buildings, the bay is a natural amphitheater for residents and tourists who can pause along the shore while gazing out over the water. The Insola floats in the middle of the bay, serving as a landmark and additional space for locals.
During the first summer of 2021, we were able to work with artists, activists, musicians and curators to create a series of cultural events. On weekends, people interacted with the space by relaxing after a kayak ride or a sailing trip. Our mission was to empower people to connect with water by building a platform where everyone could hang out. We encourage everyone from Berlin and outside to use the Insola and create a new urban culture on the water.