As a Boston based architecture studio, the goal of this semester is to take advantage of the design opportunities happening in our own city. Today, we visited INVIVIA, a gallery in Cambridge, to experience “Suspense: A Womb with a View” by Sophia Chang.
We were fortunate enough to meet with Sophia herself, who walked us through the design from conception to creation. A “sensory experience for your feet,” she described it, as we were all intimidated by the lycra funnel that met us at the front entry. Stepping into this installation, the unexpected feeling of first, the give of the material, and second, the cold of the concrete under it begins this experience. Walking in becomes less intimidating as you recognize the actual gallery space beyond. This recognition is due to Sophia’s framing of views within the installation. She explained that this design was a way of alienating people from what they usually experience. In this case, we expected the first step to be cushioned rather than concrete. She described a feeling of being lost, and the idea of “hidden-ness” both within the space and at its outskirts. There is a relation to the poche of old Italian buildings, which contain space within their walls wide enough for passersby.
Overall, the mix of conceptual and practical, practical existing to function as an event space, work hand in hand. Sophia said it is these contrasting ideas that strengthen the project. And like Lauren, below, she feels it is best when people are experiencing it.