The Open Platform design for AAA engages the site of the rather non-descript convention center—surrounded with grey terrazzo tiles and the chrome underside of the escalator. The form of the pavilion responds to the site constraint of being under the escalator. The wide door that opens during the public programs faces the entrance to Art Basel’s main hall, and during busy times visitors can sit on its wide perch, taking respite from the surrounding bustle or listening to the conversations inside the Open Platform itself.
EXTERIOR: The use of hard reflective materials intend to dematerialize the pavilion in the bland environment, with a twist of the interiors, offering a change of tactility with soft foam.
INTERIOR: Inside the pavilion, a high-density foam specifically designed by COLLECTIVE serves both the acoustically-absorbing interior lining of the pavilion as well as seating cubes for the pavilion’s participants. From the distance the foam seems to resemble the terrazzo and marble surfaces already used in the site context of the convention center; on closer encounter, the tactility of the foam is a surprising relish for the users, its softness offering a refuge from the commotions of the surrounding art fair.
“MEETINGS WITHOUT WALLS”: The focal point of talks and discussions, held with eminent critics and artists on the occasion, is initiated with a piece of furniture that is a ‘round table’ itself - a cylinder with two pie cuts allow for the flexibility needed to ever changing spatial needs of the Open Platform’s diverse events and participants.
Together with the changing arrangements of the seating cubes—whether during the densely packed discussions and events or the looser configuration when the pavilion reverts to a reading space—the importance of the Open Platform as AAA’s endeavor to enable a place to hold “meetings without walls” and as a showcase of their selected archive.
THE ARCHIVE: Between the hard exterior surface and the soft tactile interior, the thickened ‘skin’ of the pavilion’s lower enclosure also functions as a display rack for AAA’s reservoir of printed and digital archive. The large picture window-like apertures of the 40 cm deep enclosure holds the books, brochures as well as signage for AAA’s programs.
VISUAL IDENTITY: Two neon signs visibly identify the AAA pavilion. One, designed by COLLECTIVE, working closely with Lyla Sulaiman, the graphic design principle of Shanghai-based MATTER Design, is the logo for the 2016 “Open Platform,” with the word “Open” and its Chinese-equivalent outlined by two forms echoing that of the pavilion space itself. The COLLECTIVE team also produced the graphic design package for the AAA printed collaterals. The other neon sign is designed by the New York-based Pakistani artist Iftikhar Dadi, who has been a fellow of the AAA, and is the Urdu version of “Open.”
COLLECTIVE’s design for this year’s Asia Art Archive Open Platform pavilion has created a space for focused and ongoing dialogues, bringing together thinkers and practitioners from all corners of the globe on the occasion of Art Basel HK. The pavilion enclosure, visually open, insulates from the commotion that would be taking place in the highly trafficked main corridor with 70,000 visitors this year. The blurring of boundaries, between inside and outside, provides both the needed focus for discussions on the inside and a visual continuity that offers reflection and engagement to the public on the outside.
LOCATION: Art Basel, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong, China
AREA: 450 square feet
CLIENT: Asia Art Archive
COLLECTIVE TEAM: Betty Ng, Ying Zhou, Katja Lam
COLLABORATOR: Lyla Sulaiman (Graphic Design)
CONTRACTOR: EDM Construction
PHOTOGRAPHY: Kevin Mak