AN OWL IN THE MIRROR AND OTHER HYBRIDS FOR THE FUTURE HOME

STEPHEN TODD, AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW , September 10, 2020

 Rive Roshan studio based its "Time To Reflect" lights on observations of sunlight on water. It was made in collaboration with Axolotl and Bent&Curved Glass, Sydney.  Image Credit: Zan Wimberley

 

Amsterdam-based Golnar Roshan (a graduate of the University of Technology, Sydney) and her partner Ruben de la Rive Box also worked on transposing nature into the home.

 

Locked down with an infant daughter in their canal-side apartment, they spent the European spring watching light bounce off the water and slowly ripple its way throughout the day across the walls and ceiling of their home.

 

Rive Roshan, as their studio is known, worked with the Sydney company Axolotl to develop a mica- based powder to refract and reflect light off a series of parabolic glass bowls a metre in diameter.

 

A pendulum – based on that designed by French physicist Léon Foucault in 1851 to prove the earth’s rotation – is suspended over each bowl, its oscillations mimicking the sun’s movement through the day.

 

Installed with the rest of the Hybrid commission pieces in the heritage Turbine Hall of the Powerhouse building, it’s a dialogue across space as well as time, expressing a commonality of human experience at a time of global crisis.

 

Writing the Hybrid commission brief over the Christmas break, bushfires and air pollution were high on my mind. (Where I live, in the Blue Mountains, six weeks of fires were followed by two weeks of flooding and months of concomitant landslides.) By the time the designers had been commissioned, a novel virus had been detected in China; before they’d had time to submit their concept, a global pandemic had been declared.

 

With swaths of the planet in lockdown, everyone’s attention was on home base and how to ameliorate personal space.

 

Designer Charles Wilson worked with engineers at the University of Virginia to incorporate metal- organic framework (MOF) fabric into a sculptural pendant light that filters purified air into a room.

 

 

The "Martuwarra Jiliny Walyarra (Like River Sand)" chaise longue was designed by Trent Jansen and Johnny Nargoodah to reflect mutations in the Fitzroy River due to climate change. Image Credit:  Emily Boden. 

 

Now running dry (something it never did when Nargoodah was a young man), its sand bed is dappled with rivulets and salt crystals form on its banks. 

 

The pair's Martuwarra Jiliny Walyarra (Like River Sand) chaise longue, based on 3D modelling of the riverbed, is a 2.4 metre-long, undulating leather dune studded with semi-precious gems to evoke salination patterns. About as far from a "machine for sitting in" as one could get, it demonstrates the way design today is about much more than function. 

 

The mission of Sydney Design Week is to bring the design industry – designers, craftspeople, manufacturers and thought leaders – together in one place at one moment in the year. While the complete Sydney Design Week 2020 program was scuppered in the wake of COVID-19, as its keystone component the Hybrid commission marks a very particular moment in time. 

 

The nine design studios, including that of Adam Goodrum, GibsonKarlo and Vert (Andrew Simpson), run the gamut from the poetically conceptual to the rigorously industrial. Taken together they represent the complexity and nuance of possible responses to a world that feels increasingly hostile. 

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