Floralis Genérica is a sculpture made of steel and aluminum located in Plaza de las Naciones Unidas, Avenida Figueroa Alcorta, Buenos Aires, a gift to the city by the Argentine architect Eduardo Catalano. Catalano once said that the flower “is a synthesis of all the flowers and is both a hope that is reborn every day to open.” It was created in 2002. The sculpture was designed to move, closing its petals in the evening and opening them in the morning.
The sculpture is located in the center of a park of four acres of wooded boundaries, surrounded by paths that get closer and provide different perspectives of the monument, and placed above a reflecting pool, which apart from fulfilling its aesthetic function, protects it. It represents a large flower made of stainless steel with aluminum skeleton and reinforced concrete, which looks at the sky, extending to its six petals. It weighs eighteen tons and is 23 meters high.
Things to See in Argentina: Floralis Generica
The enormous metal flower blooms anew each day in the aforementioned reflecting pool next to the National Museum of Fine Arts, revealing four long stamens inside. Its six 13-meter-long petals open, which takes about 20 minutes, at eight in the morning and slowly close again at sunset, mimicking the actions of a real flower.
The constructed flower reflects the city around it in the aluminum of its petals. When the petals close at night, the flower glows red. On just four nights of the year, the petals of the Floralis Generica remain open: May 25, September 21, December 24, and 31, keeping Buenos Aires in bloom all night long.
According to Eduardo Catalano, the author, Floralis “means belonging to the flora and therefore the flowers”, and Genérica “from the concept of “gender” and indicates that it represents all the flowers in the world”.
The electronics employed in opening and closing the flower were disabled in 2010 to prevent damaging the sculpture, and it remained permanently open until 2015. This was due to the fact that one of the petals was incorrectly installed during its assembly, as noted by Catalano himself. The company responsible for its construction, Lockheed Martin Aircraft Argentina, provided a 25-year warranty, but as the company was nationalized in 2009 its repair was delayed. The mechanism was functional again by June 2015.