Wall, window or film?

I was luckily enough to spend today at Wimbledon – a day spent gasping (Federer and Djokovic), sympathesing (Ana Ivanovic), eating (strawberries and cream) and partially enclosed by the Centre Court roof (British summer). Being under the roof was a novel experience to both me and the poor, bewildered pigeon desperately trying to escape its confines. The roof toys with your sense of time as it lets in enough light to vaguely determine if it is sun up or sunset, but gives little else away (a little like Tipsarevic’s expression behind his infamous shades). As a spectator, you get a strong sense of being amongst a lone group of people, left on Earth for the purpose of watching tennis – the match must go on…

Shade - a film that responds to the weather

However, the half-natural, half-artificial lighting reminded me of the work of the London designer Simon Heijdens, whose work fascinated me on a visit to London’s Design Museum and who was met with critical acclaim at the Art Institute of Chicago. His creation ‘Shade‘ consists of a special film applied to windows that responds to the constantly-changing weather conditions outside – shadows flickering and darkening as a gust of wind pasts the outside sensors. I liked it because it fused nature’s outdoors with the white-washed gallery space, while constantly and unpredictably changing – very much like the MET Office reports on SW19. I also appreciated the science and subsequent complexity behind this film/window/wall, which like the very best of tennis shots, you have absolutely no idea how it works or happens at all.


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