[ HOLLAND ]
Coco van Weelden / Paul de Wilde
Surrounded by a single continuous wall and mirrored by reflecting tiles, the space seems endless. Up is down and down is up. There is no horizon, there are no floors, and everything floats in a continuum of space. Nothing relates to scale, the limits could be as far away as they could be near. Walls with earthly sides – slightly humid and smooth to touch – smell of dirt primal to our instincts. Their thickness and porousness absorbs all sound, which dampens in the distance. The sound of footsteps gently fading away, the silence is surreal, and virtually perfect. With a warm and embracing temperature, a swift cool breeze – which direction could never be discovered – causes an unexpected shiver. Suddenly the walls come closing in. They become unsettling; somewhat terrifying. In all this darkness the only light falls from above, inviting the eye upwards. A source of light so bright, so pure, the urge to gaze cannot be controlled. Arrested by this incredible moment, time does not exist. No one knows how long he wanders the space. Only complete surrender remains.
Against the backdrop of today’s busy society, this space offers room space to draw oneself back and simply be. Without any connection that relates to time or society’s rush, the only thing that remains is to dwell in the now. This proposal is a celebration of the beauty of being in the moment, an experience of clarity and serenity. Within SkyCity’s everyday working life, being in the now offers an escape. It makes one realize that the present is all there is and that joy arises from within.
The power of now explained
We live in the age of distraction, where we dwell on intrusive thoughts and memories. But however distracted we may be, scientists dictate we are actually the happiest when we pay attention to the present. When we are aware of our experiences in the now and focus on just being. This is also called ‘living in the moment’ and refers to a state of mind that is active, open and attentive.
When we know how important living in the moment is, the question is how. Psychologist at Harvard and author of Mindfulness says: “When people are not in the moment, they’re not there to know that they’re not there.” We should awaken to the experience and just live it. How to make this possible is by overriding the distraction reflex and awaken to the present. With the space STUDIO44X designed for SkyCity we offer a helping hand in the right direction.
It starts by creating an out of the everyday experience and a sense of wonderment. This helps to distract the mind from the things it was worrying about and be occupied with the now. Once you enter the space, you step outside of the ordinary and into an unreal environment. This is a way to be brought into contact with more fundamental things, things that are much greater, deeper, and more mysterious than ordinary life. You forget about all the worries you had and for a moment you are just there. Space could have that influence on you. Further, everything is designed to stimulate all the senses in a pure way. The pure design without ornaments makes matters like light, darkness, height, smell and touch present in a way you do not often encounter. This space is about the fundaments, it is about feeling.
Design for the senses
- Hearing: sound does not resonate because of the thick absorbing rammed earth walls, this creates an unreal experience, because we are used to the fact that the sounds we produce come back to us.
- Touch: the rammed earth walls are slightly humid and smooth to touch. Inviting because of their texture and at the same time scary because of their large dimension.
- Sight: the sight is endless and there is nothing that relates to scale. Mirrors on the floor reflect the continuous walls around which make it look like you are in an endless dome.
- Smell: the smell of dirt from the rammed earth walls is primal to our instincts and gives you the feeling of something fundamental.
- Temperature: the room has a warm and embracing temperature. However from time to time visitors feel a swift cool breeze, from a direction that could never be discovered. This causes an unexpected shiver.
- Light/darkness: the dark walls are in contrast with the bright ceiling, which makes you look upwards.
By enticing all the senses in an unusual way, your brain maintains to be occupied and is unable to think of anything other than space. You experience the powerful event of being truly in the now.