stylecraft showroom installation - saturday in design - melbourne 2010

AURORA + CIRRUS

The work was commissioned by the Stylecraft showroom in Flinders Lane to be part of the ‘The Project’ at Saturday in Design, Melbourne in 2010. The design involved a concept for a two storey high wall which framed the staircase of the showroom and a floating cloud of origami like folded elements that hung suspended above the stairs.

Aurora, the eight metre by four metre back-lit luminous wall was made from twenty framed panels which housed multiple layers of semi-translucent polypropylene sheet. The design's pattern incorporated a
number of overlapping geometries that transcended the boundaries of the structural frame and created
a large-scale frieze that ran across the length and breadth of the wall’s surface. The abstracted circular
forms of the piece and the use of subtle pinks, greys and whites were derived from the Stylecraft
logo. The regular geometry and colours at the top of the wall, progressively transformed into an
exuberant tapestry of concentric geometries and interaction of vibrant colours at the bottom of the wall.

The wall was designed to ensure that the eye danced across its surface, continually finding
different relationships and juxtapositions within its overlapping curves and hues. As one moved around
the showroom the wall’s interaction with light shifted and changed. Viewed from behind, the wall took
on a lustrous sheen and the colours blended as soft pastels while from the stairs the wall’s colours would
intensify and fade as you moved past. At night from the street the wall seemed to project itself onto the
window glass and merge with the furniture forms and corporate graphics, instilling a dynamic vibrancy and a visual presence within the showroom.

Aurora was designed as a companion piece to the glowing angularity of Christina Fogale’s
floating cloud-like installation, entitled Cirrus. An intricate folded floating form which hung in the ten metre void space above the staircase and that cascaded down from the ground floor entrance to the basement showroom. The suspended form utilised the concept of working with a singular geometry, that was replicated and joined to create surfaces that could alter in shape and provide movement and flexibility within the static structure.

Cirrus consisted of fourteen hundred and forty origami Tyvek chatterboxes (the popular paper guessing game remembered from childhood) that were folded, joined and suspended as three floating cloud formations. The lightweight suspended form was designed to capture the composition, atmospherics and movement of clouds in the way that it inhabited the overhead spaces. The matted opacity of the spun polyethylene Tyvek sheets aided in the filtering of the showrooms lighting. The lighting was directed so as to diffuse the forms with soft glowing light in some areas, while creating dramatic edge shadows in others, as it angled across the triangular folded forms.

The project adopted concepts and practices more common to installation and phenomenological art in the way that it sought to establish a dynamic relationship between the temporal installation and the qualities of the existing architectural space. The juxtaposition of the sculptural and ethereal qualities of the suspended ceiling form and the subtle effects of the double storey back lit colour wall, suggests an approach to the design of temporal installations/exhibitions that primarily responds to the sensorial and experiential spatial conditions of a site. Such an approach to design attempts to establish a dramatic synergy between the existing space and the potential drama and energy that lies dormant within it.