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MAD unveil sculptural ‘Invisible Border’ installation at 2016 Milan Design Week

Beijing-based innovators MAD Architects have designed a flowing, translucent installation for the 2016 Milan Design Week in the famous courtyard of the city’s university.

The sculptural piece, called Invisible Border, forms a rippling canopy descending across the Cortile d’Onore courtyard from a loggia to the ground, establishing a shelter for people to gather, socialise and contemplate their surroundings.

“Architects usually create borders by defining spaces – what is inside and outside, what is nature and the artificial – but today’s society already has too many invisible borders,” said studio founder Ma Yansong. “As architects we should instead focus on how can we blur those borders and encourage interaction across them.”

Invisible Border was made using lightweight fluorine-based plastic ETFE tinged with a gradient colour, which reflects the hues of the sky during daytime and becomes luminous in the evenings.

The installation – which whistles and flows in the wind – was commissioned as part of an Open Borders exhibition, curated by the Italian magazine Interni. The event aims to explore how sustainability and new technologies can create “macro-architecture” and installations outside the conventional boundaries of architecture and design.

The magazine said it wishes to “nurture the expression of national, district and personal identities, and also to generate wide-ranging interactions and exchanges on the various scales.”

Yansong said: “Borders are usually seen as something closed and unapproachable but I think it’s interesting to make them attractive, dynamic and engaging. Our installation blurs the boundaries between the traditional and the contemporary. You see the difference in each end, but the transition is very organic. It’s like we open up a conversation between the past and the present.”

Italian engineers Maco Technology and Roberto Maffei worked on the project, light design was created by iGuzzini Illuminazione and the ETFE polymer was manufactured by Italian firm P.A.T.I.

The exhibition will run until 23 April 2016.

MAD Architects are best known for their ambitious large-scale, curving designs, including the Pingtan Art Museum, the Harbin Opera House and the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

MAD Architects  Milan Design Week  Invisible Border  design  architecture  installations  Ma Yansong  
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Beijing-based innovators MAD Architects have designed a flowing, translucent installation for the 2016 Milan Design Week in the famous courtyard of the city’s university. The sculptural piece, called Invisible Border, forms a rippling canopy descending across the Cortile d’Onore courtyard from a loggia to the ground, establishing a shelter for people to gather, socialise and contemplate their surroundings. “Architects usually create borders by defining spaces – what is inside and
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The sculptural piece, called Invisible Border, forms a rippling canopy descending across the Cortile d’Onore courtyard from a loggia to the ground / Moreno Maggi
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