Colorful lights dance across translucent panels, illuminating the backdrop of Toronto’s glowing downtown high-rises. In their three-dimensional interactive installation entitled AMAZE, design and research laboratory UNSTABLE has created a multisensory experience like no other. Complex branching passageways challenge visitors to find their own path through the ever-changing structure, as if wandering through a vivid psychedelic dream. Becoming an integral part of the installation, visitors are met with dynamic shadows of the crowd and the urban landscape beyond before finding their way out of the maze.
Using a standard scaffolding system with layers of translucent fabric, AMAZE is quick to build, versatile, secure, and affordable. Covering 300 square meters, the digital imaging component of AMAZE was derived from the concept of “scaffoldage,” featuring a linear grid-like pattern over which other media is projected. The texture becomes a dynamic element whose transformation is dictated by the pre-defined patterns of a computer algorithm. This digital lightshow is then projected onto the layers of translucent fabric, creating an exaggerated sense of disorientation within the space of the maze.
The concept of a maze was chosen to allow for the possibility of multiple visitor experiences depending on the chosen path for navigation. The layout was carefully considered to allow for the optimal movement of people, while at the same time provoking a sense of confusion and disorientation. Because of the structure’s translucent fabric, visitors are able to constantly maintain a visual connection with the city beyond while walking through the maze. This transforms the journey into a playful experience that is inevitably connected to the urban context.
Sited in a large outdoor parking area in downtown Toronto, AMAZE was presented as part of the exhibition entitled “The Possibility of Everything” curated by Dominique Fontaine for the Scotiabank Nuit Blanche festival, which premiered on October 4th, 2014.
UNSTABLE is a multidisciplinary design and research laboratory that explores the social and political aspects of architecture in relation to the urban context. Currently operating from Iceland, UNSTABLE was founded in New York by Marcos Zotes (Madrid, 1977), a Reykjavik-based architect and visual artist with output ranging from buildings to interactive installations and public interventions.