Ceiling

Title: Ceiling
Location: Cem Soldos, Tomar, Portugal
Studio: Orlando Gilberto-Castro and Tiago Ascensão
Author: Orlando Gilberto-Castro and Tiago Ascensão
Category: Collective Places
Videos: Orlando Gilberto-Castro and Tiago Ascensão
Photos: Orlando Gilberto-Castro and Tiago Ascensão

From the symbolic and actual value of the land it is born an intervention that emphasises the community sense of the threshing-floor [eira]. Its aggregating character – that brings the community together around an activity of common interest – is revisited by providing it with the skills and features that allow it to remain current and active. An experiential installation is set, in the village of Cem Soldos, trough the idea of a ceiling [tecto]: due to its unifying character, this architectonic element proves to be pertinent in the shaping of a will of togetherness and involvement on a common space.
On the other hand, it is meant to face the land as a naturally productive element: it has provided food, subsistence; it provides references, connections, acknowledgments – it provides identity.
The intervention was built under these premises. With minimal ground contact, the supporting structure was based on generic, easy to find and multipurpose elements: two scaffolding lines sustained multiple layers of a permeable and always alive covering. The focus was set on this space in between ground and ceiling, that is, in the spatial situations it creates.
The interventions main element and work matter is the potato bag. A common, primitive material is transferred from its everyday context to an artistic, interventional and critical sphere.
Through the plastic properties it provides – lightness, colour, transparency – the symbolic pertinence of the land is raised to an upper stage: it is a popular party ribbon and a flag, without ceasing to be a potato bag.


This installation was conceived for Bons Sons, a music festival in the small village of Cem Soldos, Tomar. This all-portuguese event inhabits the whole village and invites all residents to its realization. In that spirit, CEILING was planned to gather people – designers and constructors as well as volunteers – on both the construction and the enjoying of the atmosphere inbuilt in their work. Throughout the day and the night, it provided the space with a reference point, a place to hang out in the shade and to watch the concerts.
This installation highlighted local values, combining the iconic and material powers of the chosen elements in order to, with minimal intervention, with minimal ground impact, achieve the maximal potential of the space towards the people – it allowed a more comfortable relation with the ground and the weather and offered the audience new possibilities for enjoying the concerts and festival activities.
The sewing of the bags, to each other and to the lines that formed each layer, was done by dozens of volunteers from Cem Soldos and its surroundings whom, together with another bunch from all over the country, also helped in lifting them to the structure.
The two scaffolding lines, anchored to the ground, established the aesthetic and conceptual connection between the village and the festival, that is to say, between the natural Cem Soldos’ environment and the inevitable industrial side brought in by all the stages structures. CEILING connected villagers, visitors and artists, to each other and to the village.