From the Resene News 3/20 – Naked Salad by Qun Zhang
“A series of subterranean baths use the play of colour and light to offer levels of anonymity, teasing the uninitiated out of their comfort zones”
Naked Salad is an exercise to create an architecture of empathy, one that evokes tolerance and empowerment while eroding existing social stigmas. It’s set in a parallel world from ours, where human experiences have been dulled and muted by eras of social pressure to conform. The narrative follows a group of individuals and reveals the potential for architecture to ‘strip away’ our preconditioning and to unlock forgotten senses. In doing so, our primordial self becomes open to the world and the pleasures to be found.
In the decay of the post-industrial urban landscape, the bath confronts the public by thrusting itself into a busy crossroad. Steam from the subterranean thermal bath billows out flirting with the sun. Lush vegetation spills from the pleasure garden in defiance to the drab world around it. The steam rolls down the street announcing itself to the public, offering the opportunity to wash away the accumulated pollution on their skin and in their mind.
The project under the guise of bathing, is a sanctuary for nudists, offering a place to establish their community. Meanwhile, the amenity of bathing draws in those who are curious, giving them an excuse to discover their own sensory awakening. A series of subterranean baths uses the play of colour and light to offer levels of anonymity, teasing the uninitiated out of their comfort zones.
The architecture facilitates existence in a physically and mentally liberated state, to inspire understanding and acceptance. It is a stage to celebrate our diversity in its bareness.
The garden and baths draw inspiration from Susan Sontag’s manifesto on ‘Camp’, embodying ideas of humour and parody while celebrating the excess and extravagance to be enjoyed in the everyday. Visitors in their naked state becomes physically and mentally liberated, giving space in their mind to receive their surroundings anew. Designed to enhance the sensory experience, the bath, burgeoning with colour induces a state of synaesthesia, no longer consumed by just our eyes but transformed into palpable sensations.
Resene Glorious (clear pink orange), Resene We Peep (young pink), Resene Freefall (light cerulean blue) and Resene Pattens Blue (baby boy blue) form the hues of red, yellow and blue artwork on the façade, the primary hues strip the colour spectrum down to its bareness. The use of glittering Resene Goldmine (gold aluminium) on walls and parapets throws away traditional sensibilities, exclaiming ‘I’m here! Acknowledge me!’ Extroverted yellow Resene La Luna (soft yellow) celebrates the often-ignored glazing frames. Resene Eighth Black White (cool white) over patterned brick work appears as an intricate lace while portals in the wall in Resene Shirley Temple (spirited orange) and Resene Captain Cook (maritime blue) teases a glimpse down into the bath below. The colours quickly establish a spirit of camp sensibility, liberating and cheerfully present.
Once inside, shifting and contrasting volumes becomes a tender embrace. Resene Cupid (pink) arabesque tiles dance down the hallway while soothing light settles the timid. The strategic use of vertical fluted rose copper basks the skin in decadence and luxury and imbuing those shy with confidence. An explosion of hues pop shamelessly for our enjoyment, defying judgement and skirting the line between what is asserted good and bad taste.
Sources of inspiration for colour came from the history behind the rainbow flag and other various design played in the history of LGBT rights movement in empowerment. Inspiration also came from the hippie movement of the 70s and 80s in creating a vivid and powerful wave of social change, unified under hues of instantaneously recognisable colours and unique identity.
This project won the Resene Total Colour Rising Star (Student) Colour Maestro Award. The judges said “deeply considered and provocative, this project takes you on a journey through colour to self-discovery. Delightful and intellectual, the colours underpin the transformation. Nurturing colours are combined in a myriad of ways to free both the mind and soul. It’s a fresh take on how to harness colour to help us free ourselves.”
Project: Qun Zhang
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