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Flying Panels. How Concrete Panels Changed the World

01-24-2020 11:12 AM CET | Arts & Culture

Press release from: gisela graf communications

During the second half of the twentieth century countless concrete panels sailed through the skies: not only physically from factory to construction site, or from country to country, but also figuratively. The flying concrete panel could be found all over the world in countless pictures, on posters, in cartoons and movies and even as toys or theatre and opera sets. Their symbolism made them an emblem for the promise of a modern, better world.

It was this phenomenon that induced Pedro Ignacio Alonso and Hugo Palmarola, the editors of Flying Panels. How Concrete Panels Changed the World, to compile a cultural history of the concrete panel from its beginnings to the present. In it, they look at how the prefabricated panel moved towards the centre of debate when it came to modernising and industrialisation processes in architecture and what visions and aspirations one had initially placed with them - until they achieved the notoriety of being the cause responsible for the monotony of today's cities and associated societal problems. Currently they are going through what one can almost see as a revival due to the many aesthetic and constructive possibilities that they offer. In the book architects, historians, philosophers and curators discuss the cultural influence that this method of construction has caused. By looking at media portrayal, the authors show how closely technology, society, politics and art are interwoven. The book therefore elucidates how industrial mass production evolved from manual labour, how the technologies of concrete panels rapidly spread and led to the creation of millions of square meters of housing in more than seventy countries. Not only did countless people have a roof over their heads within a relatively short period of time, but the new construction technology also became a powerful tool for the development of a new society. That this was not only the case in the USSR, but also in countries like the United States, China or Sweden, is illustrated in the wealth of material that the authors have gathered during their research work - which lasted for more than a decade - that is now present to the public.

This publication accompanies the exhibition of the same name curated by Pedro Ignacio Alonso and Hugo Palmarola, which will run at ArkDes - The Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design in Stockholm from October 18, 2019 to March 1, 2020. With essays by Michael Abrahamson, Jimena Castillo, Adrian Forty, Boris Groys, Maria Lind, Jennifer Mack, Philipp Meuser, Natalya Solopova, Erik Stenberg, and Christine Varga-Harris.

Pedro Ignacio Alonso/Hugo Palmarola (eds.)
Flying Panels. How Concrete Panels Changed the World
With essays by Michael Abrahamson, Jimena Castillo, Adrian Forty, Boris Groys, Maria Lind, Jennifer Mack, Philipp Meuser, Natalya Solopova, Erik Stenberg and Christine Varga-Harris
170 x 240 mm, 264 pages
300 pictures, Hardcover
ISBN 978-3-86922-563-0 (English edition)
EUR 38.00 / CHF 46.40
October 2019. DOM publishers, Berlin

gisela graf communications
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gisela graf communications supports publishers, museums and institutions specialising in architecture, design or art, with professional press and PR work, also on an international level.

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