Freya Robinson & Zoë Fehlberg
Portal for Reverie
Portal for Reverie
It’s a intervention piece that is constantly moving, and I like the color as it breaks the sober building, allows interaction, and it seems to be there to experience the experience of playing the part. – Mauricio Lara
A colorful parasite that definitely stands out in the building. I find the use of wind to give the piece movement interesting. – Sebastián Lara
The intended use of a space or an action that goes completely unnoticed is the forte of this project. A fun idea; dynamic and different. However, I think I miss many test executions because the concept is stronger than the result. – Michel Rojkind
The potential of this idea, is what made most of us like it. Turning the invisible visible by projecting the force of wind into a geometry is a great idea, but can be developed into a more impressive result. – Andres Mier y Teran
Portal for Reverie
Our project is a portal, a little utopia. Conceived in response to the Melbourne Museum in Australia, 'Portal for Reverie' is an inflatable parasitic construction that attaches to the exterior of the museum’s ventilation system. Constructed from diverse fabrics, it is a flexible shifting surface activated through human presence. It is designed to reawaken ‘subjectivity…passion…[and] dreams’ (1). It celebrates individuals as engaged participants - not spectators, producing active contributors within urban culture. Our design acts as a whimsical foil to the dominant presence of the established architecture. (1) Vangeim, Raoul, ‘The Revolution of Everyday Life’, (New York, RebelPress, 1967), 222.2. The Brief: Summarize the problem you set out to solve. What was the context for the project, and what was the challenge posed to you?
Utilising performative intervention as an approach, our project set out to invert the dominance of power structures by creating a little utopia. In using the term power structure, we are referring to hierarchical buildings and systems that impose a dominant presence of authority and order. Specifically, we chose to look at the architecture of the Melbourne Museum and Carlton Gardens. Archived with reason and logic, the Melbourne Museum presents collections in rational arrangements. This sense of order is also evident in the post-modernist façade, designed in reference to the Hoddle Grid (the Cartesian layout of Melbourne’s CBD). Melbourne Museum operates at a grand and imposing scale. The challenge of the design brief was to dignify the human, countering the Museums dominant architectural presence. Our idea of dignifying the human comes down to placing a renewed importance on individual expression, acknowledging quirks as inherently human.3. The Intent: What point of view did you bring to the project, and were there additional criteria that you added to the brief?
As interior design students, we place an importance on working at a human scale. The focus of the project was to rethink urban environments, facilitating spaces for imagination and intervention. Existing at a human scale, Portal for Reverie embraces a phenomenological experience of the body invested in place. Celebrating and enacting upon human idiosyncrasies and wayward behaviour became a fundamental intention. The ticks and compulsions of the structures surface incite an irrational logic, offering ruptures in bells and frills that excite the senses. The flirtatious nuances of the material produce pockets of oscillating patterns of life, loss, growth, extension and retreat.4. The Process: Describe the rigor that informed your project. (Research, ethnography, subject matter experts, materials exploration, technology, iteration, testing, etc., as applicable.) What stakeholder interests did you consider? (Audience, business, organization, labor, manufacturing, distribution, etc., as applicable)
Our project was informed by Ian Buchanan’s psychoanalytic critique ‘The Clutter Assemblage’. In his paper, Buchanan asks: “what may be the purpose of clutter?”. Whilst Buchanan’s text centres around the individual, our project Portal for Reverie positions his ideas within a broader context. Buchanan’s appraisal of instances of disorder became our approach for celebrating and enacting opportunistic human-centered design. Buchanan’s text was used as a conceptual framework, activated through the tactics and theories of the Situationist International (SI). The SI advocated alternative experiences of rationalist spaces, for the reawakening of human desire in everyday life. Their philosophy invites the possibility for action, appropriation and occupation. In accordance with the Situationists, we sought opportunities which arose from the ‘cracks and fissures in [the] smooth wall[s]…’ (2) of the bluestone walls of the Melbourne Museum. Our opportunistic approach to design allows us to free ourselves from rigid and formal outcomes. (2) Gardiner, Michael. Critiques of everyday life Introduction (Florence, KY, USA:Routledge, 2000), 78.5. The Value: How does your project earn its keep in the world? What is its value? What is its impact? (Social, educational, economic, paradigm-shifting, sustainable, environmental, cultural, gladdening, etc.)
Portal for Reverie calls to reminisce on more ‘essential’ modes of living, by doing so, rekindling the latent appreciation for the basic needs of experience. Our parasitic structure is a flexible, shifting, nomadic shelter, facilitating joy and wonder. Its playful nature reawakens a childlike dream of lofts and cubby houses. Spaces are in constant production, appeasing the human desires to place-make. The nomadic construction eradicates formality by offering a gentle inversion of power structures. Our project allows the user to perceive time outside the rational and economic agendas of contemporary society. This approach to urban space reawakens ‘subjectivity…passion…dreams’ (3), as the essence for human experience in urban culture. The value of Portal for Reverie lies in its implementation of opportunistic design that celebrates ‘slips of the tongue, ticks, compulsions…’(4) as an impulse to rethink urban environments. (3) Vangeim, Raoul, ‘The Revolution of Everyday Life’, trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith (New York, RebelPress, 1967), 222. (4) Buchanan, Ian, ‘The Clutter Assemblage’, Drain Online Magazine, ‘Power’ Vol.8.