ryugyong pixel hotel

The Pixel Hotel – Cesare Griffa (Guido Anselmi Workshop)

The Pixel Hotel is a 2’30” video, produced in 2005 for a Call for Ideas launched by the magazine Domus (n. 882) to generate ideas for the redefinition of the huge abandoned concrete pyramid of the Ryugyong Hotel at Pyongyang, North Korea.

The video transforms the concrete pyramid in a gigantic computer screen. Windows become pixels and form short messages and low-resolution images (smsAtari 64 style). An interactive slot, able to map people’s mood, informs the messaging system. In such a way, the building materializes people’s thoughts, reversing the traditional Orwell’s Big Brother control of society to a new bottom up system.

In the early 1900s – the era of machines – the themes of housing for workers and other socio-political explorations of space were central to the First Modernism discourse. After the 1929 MoMA International Style exhibit, all social issues were forgotten in reason of a formal debate. Nevertheless, modern masters migrated to the US in the 1930s forced by the new authoritarian regimes.

In the early 2000s, advanced research in architecture is well developed, but the focus is mainly form-oriented. Computer design techniques produce very cool designs, which tend to forget about social and political issues.

The Pixel Hotel proposes to get out from this formalistic impasse transforming the pixel (matter of digital designs) in a social issue. Pixels learn a way to update modernism creating a map of the state of wellness of society.

The pixel hotel has been shortlisted for the 4th bauhaus award (link)

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