elii [oficina de arquitectura]



Vritual Institution


Furniture design for the Alicia Framis' Guantanamo Museum

Alicia Framis’s “Welcome to Guantanamo Museum” exhibition studies the conversion of Guantanamo prison into a museum. In order to reach this goal, it has brought together a network of artists, architects and designers to cover all aspects of the new museum. Elii was entrusted by this virtual institution to design the furniture for the new Guantanamo Museum.

Elii designed an assembly system for all the exhibition furniture using the mesh from the prison cells in the Guantanamo Bay base. This “reinserts” the prison materials and gives them a second life: that which was used to confine is now used as main element of the furniture which will hold the works exhibited in the museum.

The assembly system is based in the upright stacking of 15x15 corrugated welded steel mesh, placed parallel and separated 1cm to each other. By superimposing the mesh, previously cut to match the shape of each piece of furniture, we obtain the general volume of each piece. The sections of mesh are then post-tensioned with steel rings that shape the ensemble, making it work uniformly and stiffening the piece of furniture.

Thanks to its reactive-paint finish, the furniture in the Guantanamo Museum glows in the half-light of the exhibition hall’s ultraviolet black light, to the rhythm of Blixa Bargeld reciting a list of 274 names previously organized by phonetic or poetic associations by the writer Enrique Vila-Matas.


1. Reprogramming. A prohibited space is transformed into a museum. What previously enclosed, will now be the main support for the furniture of the new Guantánamo Museum.

2. System. One system the assemblage of all the furniture of the museum: from a table of 4.00x1.00x0.83m. to a closet of 2.10x0.70x1.20m. The superposition of meshes conform ethereal volumes and allows the re-adaptation of the furniture to each of the exhibition spaces.

3. Atmosphere. The furniture will participate in the special atmosphere designed by Alicia Framis for this exhibition, shining in the gloom of a black light to the rhythm of the names of the list of prisoners recited by Blixa Bargeld.

  • Architects:
  • elii - Uriel Fogué + Eva Gil + Carlos Palacios
  • Team:
  • Enrico Forestieri
  • Artist:
  • Alicia Framis
  • Models:
  • elii
  • Date:
  • 2008
  • Location:
  • Centre d'Art Santa Mònica, Barcelona y Galería Helga de Alvear, Madrid