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argi - txinta

  • Location: Bilbao
  • Client: Guggenheim Bilbao Museum
  • Principal Architect: Cristina Acha, Miguel Zaballa
  • Date: 2023
  • Photographs: Jorge Isla - Archivo Acha_Zaballa
  • Collaborators: Alejandro García

The museum, where apparently nothing changes, experiences continuous and subtle rearrangements. Coinciding with the newly opened third floor for the exhibit of the permanent collection, the space has recovered the original definition of its inauguration day, more open and loyal to the design by Frank Gehry, more permeable with the rescue of the original skylights. The three Argi-txinta (dayspring) units celebrate the optimistic openness that can be fully enjoyed in the museum.

The final design of these three units comes after a long process of analysis and study of possibilities, once the covid-19 health crisis has been overcome, as the result of the necessary adaptation of the initial approaches devised for other museum spaces and today rethought for the particular characteristics of its new location on the third floor.

The formalization of the design of these three assemblies starts from a circle of 4.80 meters in diameter which adaptation to the specific spaces of intervention is made from cuts and folding of this basic geometric shape. All three elements are fractals of a single circle. Three assemblages from a single formal unit. Three units that, in reality, are one. It is the adaptation to the intervention spaces, strongly conditioned by the circulations that limit the extension and occupation of the proposed elements, which models the same element in three different installation versions.


The condition of space in constant adaptation is something that the design of socialization spaces cannot ignore. The museum experiences constant changes, some of which are barely perceptible, others of great importance. The assemblies that are proposed for socialization spaces must be able to assimilate these changes naturally. And this means that they should continue to be useful beyond their initial location for which they are specifically designed. Easily transportable, without the need for works or adaptations, they are just as functional in alternative locations.


A high specialization, both in the formal design and in the content, can contradict the inclusive flexibility in use that is intended for these elements. Thus, the design focuses on providing the assembly with a series of characteristics that make them 'functional'.


The ergonomics rules apply to the proposed compositions. The result is intended to be comfortable for the user.

Constructive rationality.

The standardization in the construction of the elements has to do with the feasibility of initial production as well as its subsequent maintenance. Simple construction with serialized elements allows for easy repairs, upgrades and replacements.

The design is rationalized from simplified geometries that are repeated, giving the whole the condition of being manageable in production and comfortable in use.


The assemblies are truly functional if the public identifies them and their use is unambiguous, risk-free, easy and inclusive.

The design does not hide the furniture nature of the pieces, so that their identification is spontaneous for the public.

The same element is designed for each of the three areas.

Depending on the particular characteristics of each one, it is enough to add small variations on the base element that only consist of folding part of the seat base transforming it into a backrest.

Socialization space.

The synthetic definition of furniture element maintains the nature of an open pole for the hybrid activity of socialization.

Its own formalization of faceted edges generates an environment around the assembly. This formalization adapted to the circumstances of the space with its own formal and geometric presence favours the gathering of the public, the perception of occupation of a specific and independent place from the general circulation space.


Metallic structure, legs and visible edge frame in beech wood, phenolic board and upholstered elements define the materiality.

A bench with a rhomboid plan.

This shape allows its folded placement in the most compressed third-floor spaces. And if the three are attached, the island shape is recovered. With the union of the three fractals, the figure of the base circle is recomposed.

Resting on beech wood legs that separate it from the ground.

Steel frame around the edge with softened beech wood edges.

A phenolic board forms the elevated base and braces the frame, giving it continuity and offering a closed plane.

The set of upholstered elements, seat and back, padded and finished in red upholstery define the tactile and visual finish.

In each set, a freestanding backrest completes the ergonomics in the deepest central section and serves as a formal counterpoint, accentuating the playful invitation to use by the public.

The modular definition makes the parts interchangeable.

The 'base' elements can be assembled interchangeably as a seat or as a backrest.

All the upholstered elements are equal, which facilitates their maintenance and replacement.

The intense colour of the piece, in contrast with the floor and walls, facilitates its perception. The red upholstery integrates with the definition of other original furniture elements of the museum, the ones in the bistro, in the auditorium...

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