Archifest 2016, Singapore
In a fast-moving and vibrant city, Singaporeans often miss the chance to stop and take in the sights, color, and sounds of the city. Residents in this densely populated city where space is premium do not get many opportunities to enjoy big artforms. It was with this in mind that the Singapore Institute of Architects unveiled the ‘exhale’ theme for Archifest 2016. This theme was to encourage the city’s residents to take a moment to breathe in, enjoy the sights, and forget about the pace and stresses of life. The centerpiece of this theme was the Archifest Pavilion 2016, a giant technicolor structure made of recyclable construction materials.
DP Architects’s Pavilion
The pavilion was a play of contrasts. It was built to depict an inhabitable steel jungle that is yet spacious, colorful, and livable when one takes a closer look. The structure was made of steel scaffolding and safety netting. It occupied a total space of 18,000 square meters. The safety netting was playfully painted in primary colors, which combine to give a wide spectrum of secondary and tertiary colors. The pavilion was intended as a disruption on the landscape, its size, and color, forcing the passerby to stop, focus, and get curious.
Video: ‘Exhale’ at Archifest Pavilion 2016
How the colors affected visitors
Although the steel scaffolding seemed impenetrable, the pavilion was quite spacious to walk in. There were sitting benches and even a miniature library for visitors. The rich mix of colors interacted, faded, and shifted in different hues and saturations as one walked around, having a powerful effect on the visitors. The psychological effects of color on humans has been well demonstrated. Color has the power to change moods, and brighter colors of longer wavelengths have an uplifting effect on the human psyche. The pavilion’s presence encouraged Singaporeans to stop, reflect, and appreciate their surroundings. The structure was built to change gradations of light, depending on where the visitor was sitting or standing.
Raffles Park is one of the few open spaces in the densely built monochrome environment of steel and concrete towers. The pavilion was a powerful disruption to the color palette of the landscape with its polychromatic, vibrant, and ephemeral presence. The sturdy concrete scaffolding and the floating colorful safety netting was a further curiosity on the eye. In a city where residents are used to regularity, uniformity, and few surprises, the pavilion was a welcome disruption.
The Archifest Pavilion 2016 was sponsored by the Singapore Institute of Architects, and built by DP Architects. It stood on Raffles Park from September 23rd to October 9th, 2016.