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Meet the show architects: Stiff and Trevillion

by Sophie Cullen on Mar 22, 2016 in Lifestyle
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With Art Central about to kick-off on March 23, we speak to the architect of the temporary structure Mike Stiff from London-based Stiff and Trevillion

Art Central 2016

Art Central 2016

Tell us about the challenges faced when designing temporary or pop-up architecture?

Most of the fairs we have designed have been in exhibition buildings, in London Olympia is a magnificent glazed barrel vaulted space, Melbourne was housed in a World Heritage Site, and Sydney in a vast restored railway workshop. Working with buildings of this quality brings its own challenges, so it is refreshing to be starting from scratch so to speak. Unlike other fairs absolutely everything needs to be provided. The basic infrastructure that we usually have is not there, cooling, lighting and WCs for example.

What makes the design for Art Central's 2016 pavilion different? Can you tell us about the special features and materials of the project?

Art Central is bigger than last year, and we think better laid out. The space is generous and the booth walls taller than some fairs, this gives it a very professional feel without losing its edginess.

Stiff & Trevillion also designed the pavilion for Art 15 London

Stiff and Trevillion also designed the pavilion for Art 15 London

Have you incorporated any specifically "Hong Kong" elements?

There will be an enlarged open air street food area this year, and Belon are fronting the restaurant. Food is very much a part of Hong Kong life!

How is this year's design different from last year's, and did you learn anything from last year that has helped you to improve the project for 2016?

As I said the space is larger, we hope that the fair will be easier to navigate, the design has been thoroughly reviewed in the light of what we learnt from 2015, but it will still feel fresh and slightly alternative, it is a satellite fair after all.

The firm was the show architect for Sydney Contemporary 2015

The firm was the show architect for Sydney Contemporary 2015

What differences are faced when designing for various geographic locations?

The Art market is an international one, so the audience tends to be savvy and well versed in contemporary art. Having said that each country seems to develop its own mood and buzz. The Hong Kong audience is a lot more enthusiastic and curious about anything new for example.

What's your personal favourite piece of pop-up architecture that you have seen?

In London, The Serpentine Gallery build an annual pavilion for three months in Kensington Gardens. Each year a different international architect is invited to design it. They are always stimulating and original. It would be difficult to choose a favourite, but the Japanese Architects tend to excel at this type of pop up stuff.

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