The Ways of Water, Aigües de Barcelona (1867-2007). 2007 — Museums

History of the water utility Aguas de Barcelona, its relationship with citizens and the revolution in customs associated with water use. An international look at an essential element for humanity.

Institutional sponsor: Agbar Water Museum

Location: Barcelona, Catalonia

© Photography: Ignasi Cristià SL

For its new headquarters in the Torre Agbar, the Sociedad General de Aguas de Barcelona commissioned an exhibition to commemorate the institution’s 140th anniversary. The main idea was that the graphic, audiovisual, sound and exhibition resources should be inspired by the metaphorical use of water. The exhibition was thus planned as a dramatic process based on immersion in the space through sensory experience.

Thus, there is a spring from which two streams emerge, which in turn serve as large waterfalls that attract visitors from a distance. The exhibition space is enclosed and integrates the geometry of the building through a frieze along the perimeter opposite these streams. This frieze aims to depict a torrent of light and water which serves as our guide. Between these two surfaces is the bulk of the exhibition content, which attempts not to interfere with the usual routes through this lobby. Old ethnographic objects and machines related to the use of water are displayed here.

This is also the site of the most unique space: a symphony of everyday life especially designed to depict the use of water in the guise of a concert which uses the ordinary sounds of water 24 hours a day as instruments. To accomplish this, an audiovisual installation was designed comprised of an explosion of screens with images and the sounds of showers, faucets, street cleaning, etc. In this particular symphony, the high points with the loudest sound dovetail with the times of peak water consumption. The curve of the diagram on water uses was scaled to a timeframe of 240 minutes.

To conclude, two curved panels return our sight to the present and address the challenges in water use and distribution in the future through an audiovisual installation. This area also has a place for further exploration with books devoted to this scarce asset for visitors who want to learn more.

Water Museum Website