BiFocal





Collaborators: Michael Charters, Mike Johnson, Ranjit John Kora

Bifocal explores the boundary between image and experience by embodying both. Bifocal transitions from an aggregated mass on approach to a tactile and immersive environment from within.

The pavilion imagines a field of verticals that produce a playful environment for the visitor while serving as an armature onto which the fair’s brand is displayed. Through the technique of anamorphosis, a billboard scale Design Miami/ insignia is read from the vantage of the visitor approaching the pavilion from the neighboring convention center. The sign is produced by digitally routing an intricate pattern, inspired by the Harvard Graduate School of Design logo, into a field of wood verticals at precise locations. The reliefs, painted a highly visible color, fall into alignment as the visitor approaches the pavilion, revealing the Design Miami sign and framing the perfect selfie moment.

Conceptualized as prepared dimensional lumber, the verticals are organized into a gridded field elegantly displaced by a circular forecourt at the heart of the pavilion. The forecourt, defined by an increased density of verticals, creates a void for congregation. The perimeter of the forecourt reads as a fuzzy cylinder from outside the pavilion, blurring the boundaries between solid and void, inviting further investigation by the visitor. The forecourt is lined by a circular bench, inviting guests to stay and have intimate conversation.

The pavilion is constructed with simple materials and details to ensure feasibility and cost effectiveness. Each vertical is a standard 2x4 or 4x4, mounted to a wood framed base, weighted with sand bags or concrete. The top surface of each base is clad with mirrored acrylic to enhance the atmosphere, extending the verticality of the wood members. The bases vary in height to define circulation and serve as seating throughout the pavilion. The Graduate School of Design projects are displayed within weather-tight acrylic volumes which vertically extrude the envelope of selected bases. The crystalline volumes are lit from within, emitting a soft glow at night.