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Coming together

”In varietate concordia” was adopted as the official motto of the European Union in 2000. This was soon followed by the choice of Brussels as the official capital of the EU in 2001. The then-president of the European Commission, along with the prime minister of Belgium, invited a group of intellectuals to a series of brainstorming sessions in which the architectural presence of Europe within the capital would be discussed. As part of the discussions, AMO went one step further and addressed not only the architecture but the whole visual language of Europe. The latter was deemed ”mute, limp, anti-modern”, leading to a series of new proposals by the office.

Among these was the barcode flag - a new visual symbol that brings together all the EU flags. Adaptable and not restricted to the 12 stars on the blue background, the barcode would elongate as new states join the EU. This mechanism works both ways, though, and now, 20 years later, following Brexit, the barcode would have to shrink.
Involuntarily we find ourselves in a new brainstorming session in which the core symbols and values of the EU are put into question.


[1] EU Barcode, OMA 2001

[2] Cueva de los Manos, Santa Cruz, Argentina

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