When we think of vacations, many of us immediately imagine being on a desert island, swinging in a hammock surrounded by palm trees with nothing around but the sound of the ocean lapping on the beach. Unfortunately, most of us will never get to have that real desert island experience, especially given the multitude of beach holidays available to travelers all over the world. True desert islands only exist for a certain few who are lucky enough to be able to afford to go somewhere completely isolated and private. Now, a new art installation by Gjøde & Partnere Arkitekter in Perth, Australia allows visitors to feel as if they are in fact stranded on their own personal island.
The installation is a 72-meter-long curved wall of mirrors that sits in a semicircle facing the sea. Located on Cottesloe Beach, “Desert Island” invites viewers to experience the tropical paradise of their dreams. By playing with the horizon line and mirroring the edge of the shore, people are lulled into thinking that they are standing on a floating piece of land, with only the sea and the endless horizon reflected in the mirrors in front of them.
Naturally, this view changes depending on the lighting conditions and the number of people who are in front of the mirrors at any one time. If a person is alone, they are set against the expansive backdrop of the sky, which itself melds into the sea and then into the sand. If there are a number of people present, the dynamic changes, and you begin to observe how others interact with the installation.
Gjøde & Partnere works across various sectors of the design industry, but as architects, they are most accustomed to making spaces that facilitate human usage and interaction, and this installation is no different. “The movement and interaction of people on the desert island is an integral part of the experience of the work. Kids playing on the beach, couples walking in the sand, friends relaxing together — all shapes and colors become part of the installation. Facing west, the installation also catches and emphasizes the spectacular sunsets for which the area is renowned, thus adding a new spatial dimension to this scenic event,” says Johan Gjøde.
Visitors can interact with the piece in a number of different ways. For instance, it’s a great prop to act out some fun beach activities in front of, and groups of friends also gather around it to take selfies. When the sun goes down, it is transformed into a shimmering color gradient that makes a great backdrop for romantic photos.
The installation was conceived of long ago, and it was transported to the Australian beach via shipping container. It’s made from a set of mirrored panels set on a timber frame. Although the construction itself is simple, the effect it produces sparks the imagination of all visitors, allowing them to imagine a multitude of different scenarios. Fans of the piece can support the artists by “buying a mile” for one Australian dollar as part of the Australian coast’s “Sculpture by the Sea” initiative.