Commissioned by the fashion designer Rei Kawakubo for Dover Street Market – New York, the Biotopological Scale-Juggling Escalator is a scaled version of the Reversible Destiny Lifespan Extending Module. The module is a flexible form often found in the architectural works of Arakawa and Gins that is characterized by a large central space surrounded by, and linked to, four individual rooms.
Tilted to connect two floors within the store, the module’s main section functions as a staircase. The installation’s bulbous exterior, painted mostly in a soft white with washed yellows and greens, appears anatomical in form. The lit interior walls of the structure begin with a deep bloody pink and bruised purple at its base that graduate in lightness to the creamy white of the ceiling. The steps, edged with uneven rammed yellow earth, are made from different colored stone and lined by two pairs of interweaving handrails. On either side of the steps are representations of four rooms or ‘wings’ that constitute the Reversible Destiny Lifespan Extending Module. Here they are scaled down to model size: two penetrate the walls of the structure, another is set into it in profile, and a fourth precariously balance on the floor. Each contains a figure to animate the idea of them as places to be inhabited and explored.
Realized by Madeline Gins in 2013, this work of ‘procedural architecture’ operates against the aging process by triggering cognitive understanding via multiple scales, gradient colors, diagonal symmetry, two pairs of serpentine-like handrails, and different colored staircase stone steps. In walking up or down what Gins termed as an escalator, a person’s encounter with the space allows for his or her body to increase its awareness of and relationship to the overall architectural experience.
• Completed in 2013
• Size: Approx. 20 ft x 10 ft - 6.1 m x 3 m
• Program: Permanent Installation
• Location: 160 Lexington Avenue, New York NY