Floating Light Containers Evoke Curiosity in QIU Taiwan Pavilion

qiu installs the cube in kaohsiung, taiwan

For the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts’ International Container Art Festival, Quality Innovation United (QIU) Architects realized The Cube, an ambitious project flag which perfectly embodies the festival theme of Van Buren Supernova, encouraging attendees to explore light, stars, hope and new life. Located on a pier in Kaohsiung’s regenerated arts district, Taiwan, The Cube seeks to spark the imagination with reflections on Kaohsiung’s future, while remaining firmly rooted in the city’s port heritage. QIU’s concept takes shape in a lightweight cuboid frame structure containing five luminous lamps containers which seem to float among the interconnected lines of light, transforming the industrial skyline of Kaohsiung Port and encouraging visitors to explore the mobility of the unknown.

when the visitor enters the Cube, he becomes an interpreter of the artistic installation

all images courtesy of UIQ

luminous floating containers evoke curiosity

The QIU Cube – ‘commu(nica)ting ships through interstellar corridors’ – is considered the most ambitious structure and largest pavilion for more than a decade of the Kaohsiung International Container Arts Festival. “We wanted to challenge everything, not only in the size of the structure, but also in the program, the material, the lighting and the way people would engage with it.” notes chief architect Young Chiu.

The interactive pavilion consists of a white, light, rectangular steel structure that generates a hierarchy of spaces in which five hollow container-like objects are suspended and float. The architects using lightweight translucent polycarbonate panels that maintain the shape of the container structures, creating luminous horizontal volumes that arouse curiosity. Interconnecting lines of light guide visitors, inviting them to explore the structure, scale the framework and enter the hollow containers. The dynamic lighting and the materiality of the volumes offer visitors a multidimensional interaction to explore the mobility of the unknown and examine the ‘light-breathing organism’. Through the hollow vertical container in the center of the pavilion, a connection is established between the visitor and the sky, in an exploration of a common theme between the container and the star. While peering through the kaleidoscope-like interior, the sky offers endless reflections of themselves. A steady rhythm of light and dark is produced, to represent the pulse of life. From inside, visitors are treated to framed views overlooking Kaohsiung Harbor. Meanwhile, for outside viewers, they are perceived as silhouettes, becoming interpreters of the art installation.

floating light containers evoke curiosity and self-reflection in QIU's pavilion in Taiwan
through the hollow vertical container, a connection is made between visitors and the sky

an exploration of light, stars, hope and new life

“Sustainability has been at the forefront of our design process”, say the architects. With carefully selected materials – which were recycled after exposure – and a strategic layout of live loads, the weight of the structure was minimized. To achieve a slender structural frame while preserving the original design composition, QIU inserts a smaller subframe that provides structural integrity to support the floating volumes and increases the area of ​​the square hollow section of the structure. The design of the Cube, with accessible overhead containers, a slender structural frame and pure overall dimensions, was challenging due to its location which faces high typhoon and seismic risk. Thus, under the floating bridge on the ground floor, the main frame was anchored to steel H-beams to obtain a solid foundation capable of resisting typhoons.

floating light containers evoke curiosity and self-reflection in QIU's pavilion in Taiwan
the pulsating rhythm of light and dark translucent vessels represents the pulse of life

About Margaret L. Portillo

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