COLOGNE (DE) - A kaleidoscope uses mirrors and colour to change the viewer's perception of the world. Whereas the classic kaleidoscope requires one to look down a long tube to appreciate the effects, in the case of Cityscope, a temporary installation designed by Marco Hemmerling which stood on Cologne's big Domplatz during the week-long 'plan 08' festival, the effects are on the outside. Hemmerling's kaleidoscope reflects its surroundings on all sides and, because of the myriad angles, the image changes with every movement. Moreover, thanks to a special colour film applied to the acrylic panels, the mirror image changes colour depending on the intensity of the ambient light and the position of the observer, resulting in a 3D effect.
Cityscope was digitally designed using parametric 3D modelling software. The production of the aluminium framework and the synthetic elements of the bevelled skin were made possible by digital fabrication technology (CAD/CAM). A special laser cutting technique was used to attach the coloured film to the transparent acrylic panels; the effect is comparable to an outsized prism. A phased light installation inside the polyhedron adds another layer to the fragmentary nature of the kaleidoscopic experience, especially at night.
Standing in the middle of the busy square in front of Cologne railway station, the temporary kaleidoscope invited reflection in the midst of commotion, something that would be equally appropriate in other settings. And indeed, the architect, who realized Cityscope with the help of a grant, has already had requests for follow-up appearances from other German cities and from London. (Hannah Schubert)