in portugese ‘à toa’ is a popular expression, indicating the state of someone without a definite purpose or something at random. it is also the namesake of estúdio chão’s most recent art installation, on show at the renowned museum of modern art of rio de janeiro (MAM) which makes a purpose out of its’ unpurposeful nature.

the 36m scaffold beam being suspended



the installation comprises a 36m beam made from metal poles suspended in the air and crosses the free space located below the museum. hanging in delicate relation to the mass of the museum, à toa is displaced from an obvious function, its weight rested in inertia. the suspended object whose mass is reduced to structural lines, invites the subject to perceive their own human condition, calling attention to the delicacy of their equilibrium and the imbalance of our relationship with the world.

36m beam crossing the museum’s free span suspended 50cm from the floor



it hopes to establish a situation of hypertelia, a term offered by the french sociologist jean baudrillard, by encouraging people to embrace it. the term describes something exceeding the purpose for which it was thought or conceived, a purpose which the studio hopes might cause people to rest and reflect.

the beam crossing the museum’s free span



the light balance and apparent uselessness of the temporary installation is open for inquiry, imagination, hanging suspended in time and space, offering itself a possibility of interaction with the bodies approaching. à toa won the second edition of the reynaldo roels jr award in 2016.

a cable wire is attached to each side of the beam

these cable wires are then attached to the museum’s façade

cable wire detail

à toa encourages passers-by to embrace the structure

the beam’s mass is reduced to structural lines

à toa offers a possibility of interaction with the bodies approaching

the almost purposeless features of the structure hopes it might cause people to rest and reflect

the beam crossing the museum’s free span

the 36m Beam crosses the museum’s free span below the first floor



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: kieron marchese | designboom

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