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Flying Panels
How Concrete Panels Changed the World

18 October 2019 - 1 March

Housing billions of people, apartment blocks made of prefabricated concrete panels are one of the most common buildings in the world. Flying Panels – How Concrete Panels Changed the World tells of the time when a concrete panel soaring across the sky symbolised the future and embodied dreams of a better world. The exhibition also tells of the concrete panel systems in contemporary architecture.

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Free admission.

Flying Panels gives an account of the evolution of the concrete panel, a building component often derided as the ugly face of our cities. But in the optimistic post-war period, the panel would build the future, cure the housing shortage and raise living standards for millions of people. The prefabricated concrete panels were at the heart of construction systems that spread to over 70 countries following the Second World War. The systems were further developed and adapted to local needs and circumstances in the different countries, with the new technique providing almost endless scope for variation.

Images of flying concrete panels were frequent in the 1950s and ‘60s. The exhibition illustrates the cultural impact and dissemination of the panels through examples of poster art, paintings, films, toys, cartoons and opera sets. A focal point of the exhibition is a suspended 1:5-scale model of one of the most representative concrete panel systems. Other key features are models of 60 modular systems from six continents.

Flying Panels is the result of years of research by curators Pedro Ignacio Alonso and Hugo Palmarola, who have gathered original material and catalogued and produced 3D models of concrete panel systems used across the world. The exhibition also outlines the history of concrete panels in Sweden, from the Million Programme and standardisation to the television series Hammarkullen.

Curators: Pedro Ignacio Alonso and Hugo Palmarola
Curator ArkDes: Carlos Mínguez Carrasco
Exhibition producer: Sofia Liljergren
Exhibition design: Note Design Studio
Graphic design: Brand Union
Lightning and Audiovisual technic: Transpond
Content developer: José Hernández
Multimedia development: Francisco Hernández
Content development team: Joaquín Broquedis, Tatiana Carbonell, Yazmín Jiménez, Daniela Manzur, Tamaya Sapey-Triomphe
Research Sweden: Erik Stenberg, Erik Sigge
Research USA: Michael Abrahamson

Read more about the exhibition

Images from the exhibition


Aleksandr Deyneka, Building Peace, 1960. Sketch for a mural mosaic at the First National Art Exhibition of Soviet Russia,
Moscow Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia

Aleksandr Deyneka, Building Peace, 1960. Sketch for a mural mosaic at the First National Art Exhibition of Soviet Russia, Moscow Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia

Sune Sundahl, photo, Installation of large-concrete panels in residential buildings, 1967–1968 ArkDes Collections

Sune Sundahl, photo, Installation of large-concrete panels in residential buildings, 1967–1968 ArkDes Collections

Antal Gunda, Cherry Town, 1963, Poster, Hungary

Antal Gunda, Cherry Town, 1963, Poster, Hungary

José Hernández and Helena Westerlind, Skarne system – Sweden 1950s, 2017 Model, powder based 3D print

José Hernández and Helena Westerlind, Skarne system – Sweden 1950s, 2017 Model, powder based 3D print

M. Gordo, Long live the 1st of May!, 1959, Poster, Soviet Union

M. Gordo, Long live the 1st of May!, 1959, Poster, Soviet Union

“THANKS, CRANES!” WRITTEN ON THE YELLOW BANNER: ”WORK FOR THE KINDERGARTEN.”
Yu Cherepanov, Crocodile, No. 24, 1969, Soviet Union

“THANKS, CRANES!” WRITTEN ON THE YELLOW BANNER: ”WORK FOR THE KINDERGARTEN.” Yu Cherepanov, Crocodile, No. 24, 1969, Soviet Union

More images

Read more about the exhibition

Flying Panels gives an account of the evolution of the concrete panel, a building component often derided as the ugly face of our cities. But in the optimistic post-war period, the panel would build the future, cure the housing shortage and raise living standards for millions of people. The prefabricated concrete panels were at the heart of construction systems that spread to over 70 countries following the Second World War. The systems were further developed and adapted to local needs and circumstances in the different countries, with the new technique providing almost endless scope for variation.

Images of flying concrete panels were frequent in the 1950s and ‘60s. The exhibition illustrates the cultural impact and dissemination of the panels through examples of poster art, paintings, films, toys, cartoons and opera sets. A focal point of the exhibition is a suspended 1:5-scale model of one of the most representative concrete panel systems. Other key features are models of 60 modular systems from six continents.

Flying Panels is the result of years of research by curators Pedro Ignacio Alonso and Hugo Palmarola, who have gathered original material and catalogued and produced 3D models of concrete panel systems used across the world. The exhibition also outlines the history of concrete panels in Sweden, from the Million Programme and standardisation to the television series Hammarkullen.

Curators: Pedro Ignacio Alonso and Hugo Palmarola
Curator ArkDes: Carlos Mínguez Carrasco
Exhibition producer: Sofia Liljergren
Exhibition design: Note Design Studio
Graphic design: Brand Union
Lightning and Audiovisual technic: Transpond
Content developer: José Hernández
Multimedia development: Francisco Hernández
Content development team: Joaquín Broquedis, Tatiana Carbonell, Yazmín Jiménez, Daniela Manzur, Tamaya Sapey-Triomphe
Research Sweden: Erik Stenberg, Erik Sigge
Research USA: Michael Abrahamson

Read more about the exhibition