Project: Genesis lobby installations: The missing Presence

Installation Name:
Moon Mirage, Cloudless Sky
Beijing, China
Genesis Culture Foundation
Completion Date:
December 2019
1m x 1m x 0.7m; 1m x 1m x 2.2m
Stainless Steel
Crossboundaries, Beijing, China
Partners in charge:
Binke Lenhardt, DONG Hao
Design team:
Marijana Simic, Cynthia Cui, HAO Hongyi, YU Hongyu
ZHENG Yao, YANG Chaoying

Thousand Moons and Cloudless sky are two sister installations situated in the lobby that connects two Genesis towers in downtown Beijing. Commissioned by the Genesis Cultural Foundation, the installations are intended to promote the foundation’s upcoming book " Dans les coulisses du musée du Louvre ".
Executed in the same material, the two pieces represent the two different takes on the same idea – the one of pyramidal void symbolizing the Louvre as the subject that is being described but resides elsewhere.
The highly reflective steel and the clean geometric forms of both installations elegantly relate to the space of the lobby which is also based on symmetry, architectural order and plenty of daylight that enters through triangulated glass ceiling and curtain wall envelope. It is exactly these reflections of surrounding space that both pieces rely on in order for their symbolic intentions to be complete. This relationship with the surrounding space that gets deconstructed and reinterpreted through the installations makes them site specific in a very architectural sense, despite their pure and abstract form. The dynamics between the pieces and the surrounding extends on the users of the space: depending on where you approach from and in which hour of the day, the reflection you see changes and allows for more than one experience – an important trait for the space where most users pass through the lobby every day on their way to work.

The installation at the south entrance is called the Moon Mirage- a name inspired by Buddhist chant Jiatai Pudenglu from Southern Song Dynasty:

A thousand streams mirror a thousand reflections of the moon on high;
myriad miles of cloudless blue reveal myriad miles of the majestic sky.

As you approach the mysterious brushed steel box, an inverted bottomless pyramid is revealed inside. The pyramid surface is reflecting the ceiling above, triangulated and transparent, much like the Louvre’s pyramid skin. As you move further the reflection’s regular geometry gives way to other, less defined shapes and colors, almost as if melting into an impressionist painting. The experience is reminiscent of the Louvre but at the same time highly subjective.

In contrast with the “Moon Mirage”, the “Cloudless Sky”- piece placed on the north entrance directs the reflection toward the dynamic viewer and the surrounding, contrasting it with the motionless central void which remains unaffected by the precarious environment.
The central void, a pyramidal shape defined by its thin outlines, represents the timelessness of great values. The great values, like the majestic sky, can only be seen when the mundane distractions are filtered out by the viewer. Thus, myriad miles of cloudless blue reveal myriad miles of the majestic sky.

The two installations are both compatible and antonymous, both contemplating perception of emptiness but one an enclosed mystery box that draws you close and points your gaze to the sky and other a kaleidoscopic illusion that follows you as you move keeping the void at its base perfectly still and ever-present.

Crossboundaries’ ventures into the world of installations is always an attempt to engage with the context, giving commentary or a new outlook of the space in which it’s placed or inviting people to immerse in an amplified perception of the surrounding and of themselves.

In the case of the already vivid and domesticated public space of the Genesis towers lobby, often referred as “the living room”, the reflections direct your attention to the parts of space that you might have not noticed before, but it also gives you a chance to quickly glance at your reflection on the way to the office, enjoy more sunlight while drinking your coffee in the lounge area or engage in conversation with someone that has also stopped to look at the new object in your common surrounding.

The opportunity for an architecture studio to test the possibilities of small scale element such as installation gives us another perspective of the power of simple materials and forms that can become a strong device for fostering interactions within a space and broaden its intended use.

The installation is open to public since December 22nd to end of March 2020.