Contextual spatial experiences awaited at Art Stage Singapore 2013 thanks to WY-TO’s evocative entrance gate and VIP lounge.
30 January, 2013
Art Stage Singapore 2013 attracted a record number of visitors. 40,500 people entered the fair this year, and each of them was welcomed by an elegant portal of black lines – a sculpture ‘in motion’ that provided a different perspective from every angle.
“The brief was to do something welcoming,” says WY-TO’s co-founder Yann Follain. The Singapore and Paris-based architecture firm was asked to do “something that would make people feel comfortable, and something related to Southeast Asia,” he explains of the entrance gate.
WY-TO was also tasked with creating a VIP lounge that would offer privacy and intimacy within the expansive fair hall at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre.
Certain local elements – such as textiles – provide substantial influence to WY-TO’s work in Singapore. “Wherever you go in Southeast Asia,” says Follain, “you see textiles. That has made a great impression on me because it creates a link between the different cultures in the region.”
The line (or thread) thus became the starting point for WY-TO’s Art Stage designs.
The ‘Floating Skeleton’ entrance gate represented a textile loom. ‘Threads’ of black fabric tape referenced the diverse techniques and patterns of Southeast Asian textiles, and “reinforced the thread that connects people and civilisations through time,” says Follain.
Furthermore, the composition of threads also suggested the opening of arms in a welcoming gesture. When viewed during one’s exit, however, the composition suggested a pitched roof – the ultimate homely symbol and a statement of departure from the public fair venue.
“In the ‘Whirl’ VIP lounge,” explains Follain, “we wanted to encourage different emotions. We designed three sub-spaces. The central area was freestanding; it’s where people moved fast and could look at each other. Beside were the red and blue zones, where we wanted people to feel comfortable and to sit down with a greater feeling of privacy.” The latter quality was particularly important for those concluding deals.
Coloured light and paint contributed to different auras in the three zones, while the threads returned, tying the zones together. The lines, colours, light and textures represented the diverse cultural influences on the established textile industry of Southeast Asia. “The ‘Whirl’ was created to evoke the feeling of something ancient, between art and craftsmanship,” Follain elaborates.
“It ended up that the blue zone was very calm,” he continues. “People were sitting down and chatting. In the red zone, people were also sitting down, but in a much more dynamic way. We were not expecting people to behave differently according to colour; that was a big surprise.”
An even bigger surprise was the discovery that some people took naps at the rear of the lounge, where corrugated paper walls created cocoon-like zones. “I was really moved to see the space coming alive,” says Follain.
Photo courtesy of Art Stage Singapore 2013.
“I must say it’s beautiful,” said Art Stage Singapore founder and director Lorenzo Rudolf of WY-TO’s design during the fair preview. “It’s also something new. And it’s a good functional part of a creative place like an art fair.”
“Today, more and more, contemporary art is crossing borderlines and becoming more difficult to define,” he continued. “Increasingly, art is merging with design and architecture. We thought, why not use that in a structure at the fair?
“It also gives certain architects, who are really very creative, the chance to do something. So we took two functional places and said, ok, let’s put that in the hands of creative architects, and let’s be surprised what they do.”
We look forward to seeing the vision of next year’s design team.
Art Stage Singapore 2013 ran from 24 to 27 January. Yann Follain also presented a public lecture as part of the Art Stage Special Programmes; it was titled ’Spaces to Dream: Architecture for Art’.
Photos by Kingsmen Exhibits Pte Ltd (unless otherwise stated).
Art Stage Singapore
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