Spier Contemporary

I worked with architect Lorenzo Nassimbeni on this “by invitation only” competition for the Spier Contemporary Exhibition . Their 2010 exhibition was to be housed in the old Cape Town City Hall and Spier were looking for a design proposal for the exhibition. We decided to create a bold, urban level intervention that turned the building into a stage for the city. The parade, which is in front of the City Hall, would become the auditorium. The building is activated by a giant urban screen made of fabric and scaffolding which acts as a billboard for the exhibition, announcing it’s prominence and position as the showpiece event art in South Africa.

The urban screen gives the building a new inhabitable façade and an alternative means of physical access. Within its thickness is a ramp which leads members of the public directly to the critical space of the exhibition, the former council chambers of the city, on the second floor of the building. The ramp rises from the ground level of Darling street to the top of the external balcony-circumventing the tradition axial staircase of the building.

Of primary importance in this proposal was the method of circulation in the context of the exhibition. The series of tickets available at the train station and taxi/bus ranks acts as the catalyst attracting people to circulate towards the City Hall. The iconic shape of the screen would become a “visual moniker” that could be re-produced on tickets and publicity material. A series of ‘red carpets’ leads the public from the train station roof onto the auditorium of the parade, culminating at the base of the urban screen.