eraclito - everything flows

MAXXI - Yap 2016. Rome

in collaboration with: V. Cavalli, C. Spadoni, G. Gori

ing. A. Conte, ing. A. Gentili, ing. L. Mambelli

Eraclito - everything flows investigates on the connection between the city of Rome and the symbolic element of water, considered with its relationship with art and power.

Moving from this inspiration, the project is presented as a new fountain in the square of MAXXI, able to flow and generate a new imaginary for the place, loading the public realm with new narrativesand meanings.

Key point of inspiration for the installation YAP 2016 the city of Rome and the infrastructure - ancient as well as recent - of its close link with water.


water urban symbology


The project for YAP 2016 investigates the theme of water in its symbolic relationship with art and power



Diagram_water rome.jpg


water manifestation in the eternal city

The foundation of the city itself links its fate to the water lines which, through the aqueducts, enter the city and supply the main public facilities and urban spaces.

water in the museum plaza?

The intention to bring water to the MAXXI (as a symbolic element of art and power) was born from the intuition of an absence. Eraclito has the ambition to become, during the four months of summer, the new fountain of the museum, an unusual element capable of revealing the public a new awareness about water and its symbolic meaning.





Lago Ex- Snia

Following the link between water and the city, along the lines of the aqueducts, the contemporary Rome reveals a placethat acts as a paradigm: Lake Ex-Snia.

Since 1992 Rome has a new lake, its water and depth could be good for swimming, but its soil is not accessible as it’s stillbounded by the working site fences. Reinforced concrete frames of an unfinished building, are its background and have become ruins before being completed.


non accessible place

Since 1992 Rome has a new lake, its water and depth could be good for swimming, but its soil is not accessible as it’s stillbounded by the working site fences. Reinforced concrete frames of an unfinished building, are its background and have become ruins before being completed.

Line of the aqueduct ACQUA VERGINE

The lake Ex-SNIA is on the aqueduct line Acque Vergini (virgin water), the same water that feeds the fountains of the monumental center of Rome and is also the same water flowing in the main public spaces of the city.


Eraclito is a displacement, which creates a physical and mental connection between the monumental water-streams of Rome and those of the Ex-Snia lake. The main elements of the lake are transferred in the square at MAXXI: these elements make the lake accessible - as an analogic abstraction - to the public experience.

The displacement occurs through the importation of the key elements of the Ex-Snia lake scenary, and their adaptation to the square at Maxxi. Here the lake becomes a contemporary fountain.


imaginary access and experience

Eraclito is a piece that acts on the mind of the public: the role of physical elements is to produce an imaginary experience and convey a sense of mental access



waterlandscape & ruins


project's elements

water mirror

water mirror


The heart of the installation is a re-found place, to admire and experience





Frames are ruins: a landscape in-between completion and deca


tall grass landscape


A micro-topography covered in herbaceous and tall grass, hides and protects the lake


The frames are painted light-blue: the same hue of the foam that is largely used in architectural models. The blue of foam is here modeled into a fragile wireframe of a future project yet to become; it stands as a sort of paper architecture, a project that still hasn’t seen the light of day.

The color blue will render the experience of space almost surreal, at times resembling a giant 1:1 scale maquette.




The frame structures reach a height up to 10 meters and can be seen from the neighbouring streets; during the 4 months of the installation, the structure becomes a landmark.




The lake remains an unexpected discovery. Hidden behind tall grass, it’s not immediately visible to the public of MAXXI. The revealing of the water surface will only take place once you get closer and enter the structure.

Structures provide shadow.They feature electro-welded meshes with different textures, that function as shadings.The overlaying of these surfaces creates differentiated shading spots of varying intensity.



The water of the lake offers a place of relax to the public of MAXXI. To intensify the comfort, the water is provided with a vaporization system, along the whole pool.This system can be programmed and produce clouds of fresh water according to the needs.


Ecosystem of the lake 


Plants have an important role for the appropriate balance of the lake, as well as for the sustainability of its maintenance.

In order to allow consistent   water savings, dry plants, resistant to drought, were chosen. The plants have the function of purifying, oxygenating the water, limiting to the minimum the need for replenishments.

Water and its usage is at the core of Eraclito sustainability project. A constant circulation assures good quality to the water, whilethe vaporization and the presence of inflatable devices contribute to the leisure of the public.

The vaporization system offers a refreshing moment ofleisure to the public of MAXXI. The system features 70 nozzles, hidden under the water-surface, and activated by a pump and an electro-valve. Before becoming a scenographic cloud of steam, water is filtered and purified.


constructive aspects