Posted on Jul 7, 2014 in Dose of Design , Lifestyle
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An art installation for Swire Properties at Art Basel Hong Kong 2014 is an optical maze that catches viewers off-guard

“Our modern cities are made up of sharp angles and reflective surfaces that allow you to anticipate what lies around the corner. This play between people and architecture sets the scene for unexpected encounters and connections” ~ Marc Brulhart, founding partner, Marc & Chantal

According to the designers, the measure of our lives is in the routine, and breaks from it, that defines modern life. Cities have a way of organising days into train schedules, closing times and carefully orchestrated meetings that dictate the rhythm of urban lifestyles. But vibrant cosmopolitan communities also have a bustling humanity that sets the stage for serendipitous connections and surprises that rise above the everyday to become indelible memories. These special moments link people and are made more precious for the fleeting nature of each encounter.

The installation is an optical maze that catches viewers off-guard with filtered views, sound and around-the-corner vantage points. It brings people together, whether they are strangers or old friends. Using concepts borrowed from periscopes and magicians’ props, the mirrored walls bounce reflections from around the installation and transmit secret glances and lively expressions between viewers in all corners of the space.

To enhance the feeling of the disjointed, but very real connections, the installation is linked by the continuous thread of a graphic yellow line. It turns, disappears and shows up again throughout the entire space and reinforces the perception of the angles found in the mirrored walls.

The Approach
Marc & Chantal tackled the opportunity of designing the Swire Properties corporate lounge at Art Basel for a third straight year with a goal to make it the most ambitious installation yet. "We wanted to represent the intrinsic qualities of Swire Properties’ active neighbourhoods in the concept, while creating a beautiful art piece that shows their support for creativity. Vibrant neighbourhoods are a constant source of chance encounters and happy connections and the design team used this observation as the basis for creating an installation that was all about forming connections."

The Lounge
The 115 sq-m of the lounge, overlooking Victoria Harbour and the Hong Kong skyline, is animated with 10 glass and mirror panels that create a myriad of visual perspectives, engaging visitors in a playful and fun manner. The 2.4m-tall panels are made of five colours of glass that refract and tint views from throughout the lounge space.

With precise positioning, the mirrored angles bounce reflections throughout the installation and visually link people standing on the continuous yellow pathway. Visitors are invited to take photos, hide amongst the maze and otherwise interact with the panels.