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Ron Arad: Hybrid Possibilities
Ron Arad is the classic multi-hyphenate. The designer-artist-architect slips easily between worlds of furniture, art, and buildings, as his works do too.
“Designers accuse me of being an artist, artists accuse me of being an architect, and architects accuse me of being a designer.” – Ron Arad
Ron Arad is the classic multi-hyphenate. The designer-artist-architect slips easily between worlds of furniture, art, and buildings, as his works do too. His Big Easy chair (produced by Moroso) and his Folly chair (produced by Magis) are furniture pieces that border on sculpture.
Arad has recently presented yet another hybridized creation—this time one that references an ancient form but looks to the future.
In the summer of 2011, Ron Arad presented Curtain Call, an installation for the Roundhouse in London. It used some 5000 platinum-cured silicone cords, suspended directly from the circular loading beam of the Roundhouse roof. Images and film content were projected upon the soft curtain, and could be viewed simultaneously on both its convex and concave planes. More impressively, one could walk through and into it and be immersed in a total all-around sound and light experience.
Such cinema was brought to Singapore recently as part of this year’s Singapore International Festival of Arts. Presented outdoors as a night-time installation at The Meadow at Gardens By The Bay, the structure was approached from the garden park, which welcomed one with soft perfumes of its evening blooms. The standalone rotunda structure was installed on trusses in an open sandy ground and appeared backdropped by the city’s night-time skyline. It appealed like a circus tent.
Each evening the installation opened at 7pm, Singapore’s sundown hour, and played nine films on loop till 11pm. One could come and go, and enter and exit anywhere in the swish-sway of the silicone skin—portals into not one, but a multitude of worlds, depending on what was on show. For a performance presented during the opening weekend, an 18-metre runway was placed across the tent’s diameter, the cylindrical wonder house into a hybrid stage-cinema.
720° easily pleases a generation already desensitised by worlds of digital data and brings interesting meanings to stage, skin, surface, and show; but perhaps more meaningful is the way the structure performs. In an increasingly mediatised world where architecture is dematerialising, it bears potentialities as a programmable platform—whether as gutted interior or as live skin, it animates built structure and gives it life.