Sans Façon


Sans façon is a collaborative practice between an artist (Tristan Surtees) and an architect (Charles Blanc). Theirs works are defined by their relation to places, incorporating the situation and the qualities of any given environment as an active part of an installation.

They use the interventions as a filter through which one can look differently at a place. Exposing the conditions of this place, the workings, the structure, by the slightest intervention creates a shift that allows the site to be seen anew. They aim to create something that can be celebrated, not for its magnificence but for what it reveals, what it allows to be seen, enjoyed an thought about: the site. They use interventions as a tool to enrich our perceptions.

She was telling him: “I don´t see what you see” and him: “It is possible that I add, I admit it, but the essential is in the things, their power to provocate [...], it´s indisputable and my sole interest as a guide is to be able to reveal them to you.
Yves Berger, Santa Fe.

Their proposal for Madrid Abierto is based on the Depósito Elevado. This building is a very good examble of a banal urban object with no pretension, it is technical and useful. It is the kind of structure that passers-by don´t look at because it is not labelled as worthy, it´s just a water tower. But what a water tower and what a setting ofr it.

This installation intends to make people look again, not to look at an artwork on the side of it but enjoy and appreciate this emblematic and impressive structure.

The intervention propose to clad the pillars of the tower with acrylic mirrors. Firstly creating a different experience of this object, the buildings reflected on the pillars present a new reading of the surroundings, the reflections create and ever-changing appearance to the structure.

Furthemore it plays with and expresses the architectonic quality of the building. The reflections create a sort of transparency, the weight of the concrete tank becomes much more present once the holding structure. This big mass of concrete hovering in the air creates a disturbing and uncomfortable vision of the building, this technical construction doesn´t seems to fulfil its structural function anymore. The altered aspect of the water tower questions the immutable state of our built environment.

The intervention transforms the depósito elevado into a “sculpture” just by renewing temporally the experience of looking at it. For a period of time the depósito elevado becomes an event. Previously just part of our every day peripheric observation, it acquires a new existence through memory and imagination once the event has passed.


Depósito elevado de Plaza de Castilla

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