Sea of Mirrors by Cité Arquitetura, a poetic journey of discovery in Rio de Janeiro

Cité Arquitetura,

Rio de Janeiro,


In Rio de Janeiro, an extraordinary architectural project captures the attention of residents and tourists, offering an unprecedented immersive experience: "Sea of Mirrors" (Mar de Espelhos). Designed by the Cité Arquitetura studio, the intervention becomes a real journey of discovery, a symphony of images and sounds, combined with cutting-edge solutions made of glass and mirrors. An installation that draws deep inspiration from the vibrancy of the Brazilian city and its natural environment.

Sea of Mirrors by Cité Arquitetura, a poetic journey of discovery in Rio de Janeiro

The striking landscape of Guanabara Bay and the port of Rio de Janeiro were the main source of inspiration for the architects of the Cité Arquitetura studio in conceiving the “Sea of Mirrors” project, Mar de Espelho in Portuguese, created thanks to the partnership between Cebrace, Grupo Cataratas and Instituto do Vidro.
"Sea of Mirrors" is an architectural installation that is transformed into poetry to celebrate the connection between man and his environment, obtained by evoking the reflection of the city, its architecture and its natural context in the shimmering waters of the bay. The architects have brought to life a passionate tribute to the natural beauty and urban vibrancy of Rio de Janeiro, stimulating a dialogue between art and the city that hosts it. The installation was created at AquaRio, the city's public aquarium and the largest in South America, offering residents and tourists an immersive and enveloping experience. Sea of Mirrors develops through an emotional journey created with cutting-edge technologies, which synergistically merge images and sounds with innovative glass and mirror solutions. It all starts with "Afluência", a place where two rivers ideally converge to flow together: on the other hand the very name Rio de Janeiro literally means "river of January". From this environment, a journey of discovery of the wonders, bodies and images that surround visitors develops. In a sequence of twists and turns and surprising elements, the journey continues with "Escarpas", "Clareira", "Iara", "Meandros", "Bruma", "Ressaca", "Marola" and "Cais". Each space has been carefully designed to arouse different emotions, in a gradual crescendo, and is conceived drawing inspiration from natural elements, folklore and Brazilian vocabulary, and in particular the city of Rio de Janeiro. The architects' intent, in fact, was to evoke feelings of serenity, chaos, tranquility, surprise and torment, inviting everyone to immerse themselves in a kaleidoscope of emotions to explore the depths of the human soul, allowing themselves to be captured by the incredible plays of mirrors and reflections.

At the end of the journey, visitors are faced with a different version of themselves, because, as the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus claimed, with the concept of Panta rei, "everything flows" and one cannot bathe twice in the waters of the same river. Through "Sea of Mirrors”, the Cité Arquitetura studio demonstrates the power of architecture in creating spaces that can fascinate and arouse wonder. In a constantly evolving urban context, this installation becomes a perfect example of the ability of architecture to communicate with humanity, giving tangible form to the enchantment hidden in the facets of the world around us.

(Agnese Bifulco)

Images courtesy of Cité Arquitetura, photos by Ari Kaye, Dani Leite and Mateus Keiper

Location: AquaRio – Rio de Janeiro/RJ - Brazil www.mardeespelhos.com.br
Client: Grupo Cataratas and Instituto do Vidro
Construction: Ricardo Tendler and Alexandre Rodolfo
Date of completion of the project: 2023
Built area: 670 m²

Architecture: Cité Arquitetura (Celso Rayol and Fernando Costa)
Collaborators: Daniel Osório, André Caterina, Lúcia Andrezo, Vanessa Moreira, Bianca Naylor, Carla Felix, Carol Santos, Eduardo Romano, Fernanda Chreem, Giovanna Soares, Júlia de Queiroz, Leonardo Leal, Leonardo Milano, Lila Monteiro, Lucas Apostolo, Luiz Eduardo Rayol, Mateus Keiper, Mateus Fragoso, Taís Barcellos
Consultants: Suzane Queiroz, Carolina Pimenta, Thiago Nascimento, SincaVidros
Management: William Castro
Structure: Ricardo Tendler, Alexandre Rodolfo
Photos: Ari Kaye (01-04,13-14,25-26,32-33), Dani Leite (05-12,16-21,27-31,34-35) and Mateus Keiper (15)

Installations: Grupo Cataratas, Ricardo Tendler, Alexandre Rodolfo, Marcelo Garga
Fire: Grupo CO2
Lighting Design: Inov
Automation and Audiovisual: Unloop
Images: Ari Kaye


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