Sydney Design Festival 2018: Four Periscopes installation announced

The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) has announced emerging Australian architecture studio TRIAS will create the first annual Turbine Hall Commission at the Powerhouse Museum to be unveiled as part of the 20th Sydney Design Festival on 1 March 2018.

The installation titled Four Periscopes will consist of four towers – evocative of Sydney’s skyscrapers – filled with a series of periscopic mirrors suspended above the ground, inviting visitors to look up inside them, the reflections connecting people from the balconies to the ground floor, and from one tower to another. Visible from all levels of the Museum, TRIAS’s winning work is a playful installation intended to evoke curiosity, encourage interaction and inspire engagement.

Made possible by a generous anonymous donor, this new, three-year annual commission is the first of its kind in Australia and offers emerging and established architectural and design talent the opportunity to design and present innovative projects for the unique Powerhouse Museum Turbine Hall site.

MAAS Director Dolla Merrillees said “MAAS takes seriously its commitment to support and profile the Australian design community. This architectural commission is an Australian first, and we are pleased to have worked with a panel of industry leaders in selecting TRIAS for the first of the three commissions. Their site-specific design provides yet another reason to visit the museum during the 20th year of the Sydney Design Festival.”

TRIAS Director Jennifer McMaster said: “One of the primary purposes of architecture is to bring people together – to frame and contain space in a manner that allows human connections to flourish. This installation highlights the importance of communicating within our ‘commons’ by encouraging museum-goers to – quite literally – reflect and connect with one another.”

The towers in Four Periscopes will be made from sustainable timber panels and their measurements relate to a series of statistics around the amount of space people have to live in across the South-East Asia region. Australia currently has the largest average house size in the world, with approximately 90-square-metres of space per person. Meanwhile the footprint of each tower will roughly correspond to the amount of space that the average resident in Mumbai is afforded and the heights of the towers loosely equate to the average space a typical person occupies within four South-East Asian cities – Beijing (10-square-metres), Manila (12-square-metres), Ho Chi Minh (18-square-metres) and Osaka (20-square-metres).

The project was selected by a panel of industry experts including Joe Agius (Agius Architects), William Smart (Smart Design Studio), Cameron Bruhn (Architecture AU Media), Dr Joanne Jakovich (UTS Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building), Stephen Todd (Design Editor, Financial Review), Sophie Harrington (MAAS), Emily McDaniel (MAAS), Keinton Butler (MAAS) and Peter Denham (MAAS).

Four Periscopes opens as part of the Sydney Design Festival 2018, an annual celebration of design with over 100 events at venues across Sydney from 2 – 11 March 2018. The installation will remain on view in the Turbine Hall until 28 January 2019.



What: Four Periscopes

When: 1 March 2018 – 28 January 2019

Where: Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris Street, Ultimo NSW 2007

Price: Included in general admission

Sydney Design Festival
2 – 11 March 2018

Full program to be announced in January 2018



TRIAS is an emerging architecture studio based in Sydney, Australia. Since its establishment in 2016, TRIAS has quickly developed a reputation for thoughtful and thorough design work. The studio is founded on three principles: to create buildings that are solid, simple and beautiful. These ideals tie our work to the origins of architecture, which Vitruvius defined as firmness, commodity and delight.

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