Architect Aires Mateus' digital water feature inspires calm

Aires Mateus lauches digital installation inspiring serenity and contemplation within the inauguration of Virtual Design Variation festival's updated format

The Rest Is Silence Design Variations
A digital taste of Aires Mateus’ ‘The Rest Is Silence’ installation.
(Image credit: AMA, Aires Mateus)

Taking the ‘Design Variations' festival to the digital stage – responding to the current global health, design and travel challenges – curators MoscaPartners have launched ‘Virtual Design Variations' with a project by celebrated Portuguese architects Aires Mateus. 

The architects' digital installation, ‘The Rest Is Silence', is presented in the virtual environment of the main courtyard of Palazzo Litta, where the physical, site-specific piece would have been erected during Milan Design Week 2020 – before the highly anticipated event was forced to be cancelled.

The Rest Is Silence Design Variations aerial view

(Image credit: AMA, Aires Mateus)

The piece is a calming water feature, inspiring peace and contemplation. ‘As a direct reaction to the world around us today, so engulfed by images and noise, with ‘The Rest Is Silence' the designers propose a void to create a new perception of what already exists,' explain the curators.

The organisers, who have brought us striking works, such as last year's impressive, large scale structure by Chilean architecture studio Pezo von Ellrichshausen, are a spring staple in the generous, 17th century palazzo's courtyard. A design exhibition featuring a roaster of accomplished and young designers is also part of the festival. 

The installation piece is accompanied by a series of video interviews, by Aires Mateus, as well as more designers participating in the ‘Design Variations' festival, while the whole event will move to Portugal from 16th June, focusing on Portuguese creatives and creating a platform for international dialogue and idea exchange.

Click here to watch Manuel Aires Mateus talking about The Rest is Silence on Instagram.


Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).