The Museum of Applied Art and Sciences (MAAS) has a collection of over 500,000 objects. Each of the objects tell a unique story about science, design, culture and history. The museum is a cabinet of curiosities, opening to a wondrous world of exhibitions, conferences, lectures, workshops, tours and other experiences.
For the 2019 Architecture Commission, Office Feuerman [OF] presents the Curtain of Curiosities. A traditional velour curtain assumes opulence at the front of a theatre stage. But beyond its decorative nature, curtains alter the atmospheric quality of a theatre; they rise to signify the anticipated start and lower to commemorate the end.
Re-appropriated and re-scaled onto the Powerhouse Forecourt, the traditional curtain is unfurled into a single curve, creating an inhabitable and immersive space filled ‘curiosities’. A prefabricated steel structure supports a 50 meter long curtain of 22,000 mirrored styrene modules, hung to reflect the light and surrounding environment. The material combination provides for ever-changing light effects based on available inputs: gentle or busting wind, natural light and site-specific light installations and projections. By reflecting visible light patterns throughout the day, the ‘Curtain of Curiosities’ gives expression to natural invisible environmental forces, producing a 24 hour stage.
Like the traditional theatre curtain that lowers and rises, the winding curtain track lifts and lowers to provide a range of public activities; from an intimate space for small group discussions, to a more open space for an informal outdoor lecture. The curvilinear seating below also supports a range of possible experiences — a platform for sitting, meeting, gathering and playing.
Come into the Curtain of Curiosities and let the show begin!
Curtain of Curiosities was 1 of the 3 that were projects shortlisted for this commission.