elii [oficina de arquitectura]


117 · mad X mad

Distributed festival

Urban strategy for Veranos de la Villa 2019



* The Urban Strategy for Veranos de la Villa, Madrid was recognized with the FAD Award, category - Ephemeral Interventions (2020) and the COAM Award 2018, Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Madrid (2018).

Mad x Mad is a strategic project to turn the Veranos de la Villa into a distributed festival. As in the last three editions, VdV activities spread out over the 21 districts of the Villa of Madrid to bring it closer to the people. On one hand, the festival travels around the city. On the other hand, the people of Madrid are invited to explore different public spaces around town. The project starts off by mapping out the districts for different kinds of public spaces that will be conditioned with temporary interventions to develop the different events at this dynamic festival. The main goal of Mad x Mad is to activate and benefit from Madrid's heterogeneous heritage, opening it up to a multiple, contemporary view.

The project develops in accordance with the following methodology: 

1. Research. The first step is to get an up-close look at Madrid by analyzing the local historical context of each district in the city.

2. Contact with local agents. Getting in touch with neighbors, organizations, and different institutions can help bring people closer together to understand the complexities and singularities of Madrid city dwellers' urban ecosystem.

3. Field work. Walking every inch of the districts to find what may be hidden at first glance and to assess the possibilities from the point of view of experience.

4. Mapping. Scoping out the 21 districts (Centro, Arganzuela, Retiro, Salamanca, Chamberí, Tetuán, Chamartín, Fuencarral - El Pardo, Moncloa - Aravaca, Latina, Carabanchel, Usera, Puente de Vallecas, Moratalaz, Ciudad Lineal, Hortaleza, Villaverde, Villa de Vallecas, Vicálvaro, San Blas – Canillejas and Barajas) to find locations: public spaces, parks, establishments, infrastructures, cultural centers, sports facilities, open fields, relevant buildings, unique, lovely cozy corners, ordinary places, and any number of other unsuspected venues dotting the urban geography. As well as to find neighborhood activities, local traditions and culture, etc. 

With all this information in hand, the next step is to draw up a strategic map that will act as a support and database for deploying the festival.

5. Valuing. After being studied in detail, the venues are assessed for their potential for being reprogrammed and equipped for the various different activities and events. The aim is to activate and value Madrid's heterogeneous heritage, opening it up to a multiple, contemporary view.

6. Urban strategy. Multi-disciplinary teams (artistic directors, producers, musicians, publicists, security, lighting, municipal authorities, etc.) work together to come up with a joint strategy for distributing the festival across the Madrid metropolitan area. Movement throughout Madrid becomes a kind of choreography spanning time and space. 

7. Adaptation. At the same time, work meetings are held with the artists to adapt their projects to the particularities of each venue. The place thus becomes one of the actors in the event.

8. Collecting and systematizing the information. Synthesizing the process, codifying, sifting, pairing and articulating the whole ensemble.

9. Technical documentation. Writing up fact sheets for each venue (capacity, accesses, public transportation, timetables for the event, time of sunset, etc.) to use as a basis for planning each event in detail.

10. Sharing and evaluating. At the end of the festival, the team assesses the development of the festival, suggesting improvements and tweaking the strategy for future editions. The festival is a living project that learns from the intelligence it mobilizes. 


* The Urban Strategy for Veranos de la Villa, Madrid was recognized with the FAD Award, category - Ephemeral Interventions (2020) and the COAM Award 2018, Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Madrid (2018).

1. Deblackboxing Madrid. Conceiving the artistic and scenic activities and proposals beyond the space of the closed back box.

Deblackboxing the festival to blackbox the city.

2. Beyond downtown. VdV relies on the Madrid transport network to deploy throughout the whole city. A festival in motion that challenges the downtown-suburbia categories, where culture and citizens travel around the city.

Madrid is many cities, it is Mad x Mad.

3. Potential and map. Maps present the relationships and show the involved urban agents. Re describing the present allows the city to be viewed differently and the potential of the spaces to be revealed.

Re-describing the city, caring for potential.

4. Unsuspected locations. The urban strategy will put unsuspected points within reach, reveal the city in other ways, and grant access to other forms of experience. Madrid is fascinating.

Escaping routine, discovering a diverse heritage.

5. Dialogue and urban experience. The methodology is based on dialogue and exploration: a dialogue between the physical medium of Madrid, the various urban agents involved, the existing cultural initiatives and dynamics, the guest artists, the heritage, the multidisciplinary team, the participants, etc.

Possible locations for specific contents. Possible contents for unique locations.

6. Active citizenship. Avoiding repetition and routine to explore and experiment the city in other ways.

Culture in motion, active citizens.

7. Zoom in, zoom out. As in the Garden of Earthly Delights, by Hieronymus Bosch, the map makes sense at different levels: on a general level, the strategy is based on the decentralisation and intensification of the polynuclear nature of the city. On a smaller level, it is based on the activation of spaces of proximity to deploy the programmes.

Far and close.

8. Feedback. The project learns from experience. Each year's edition is evaluated critically so as to make enhancements to upcoming editions. 

Learning from the processes.

9. Urban choreography. Mad x Mad is a kind of urban choreography: an invitation to explore Madrid and to know the 21 districts of the city, through culture.

Bodies and culture in movement. 


* The Urban Strategy for Veranos de la Villa, Madrid was recognized with the FAD Award, category - Ephemeral Interventions (2020) and the COAM Award 2018, Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Madrid (2018).

  • Architects:
  • elii - Uriel Fogué + Eva Gil + Carlos Palacios
  • Architect coordinating the team:
  • elii – Lucía Fernández
  • Collaborators:
  • elii - Ana López, Raquel García, Marta Vaquero 
  • VdV Artistic Director:
  • Maral Kekejian
  • VdV Artistic Coordinator:
  • María Ordás
  • VdV Artistic Team: 
  • Pedro Portellano, Maxi Gilbert, Susana Jiménez, Javier Benedicto and elii
  • VDV Production Team: 
  • Madrid Destino
  • Promoter: 
  • Ayuntamiento de Madrid
  • Photography: 
  • Estudio Perplejo (Lukasz Michalak)
  • Video:
  • David Palomino and José María Durán (production) + Miguel Ezequiel Tomás and Aider Eder Palacios (camera operators).
  • Graphic campaign 2019: 
  • Crisitina Daura
  • Surface area:
  • 69.202,73Ha.
  • Date: 
  • 28 de junio  – 1 de septiembre de 2019
  • Venue:
  • Madrid