[Image: A cargo elevator beautifully shot by po1yester].
Further proof that elevators have been ignored for too long in contemporary building design – after all, they are moving rooms and could be put to use as something other than mere vertical transport through architectural space – even Harrods, the London department store, is (temporarily) updating its lifts.
According to the Guardian, Harrods is about to open Lifted, “the world’s first exhibition to be displayed in elevators” (a wild over-statement that is, in fact, wrong). The elevator-based exhibition will include work by “Oscar-winning composer Michael Nyman and visual artist Chris Levine.”
Levine’s “Sight” lift will feature a light sculpture using Swarovski crystals and lasers to immerse passengers in mesmerising patterns once the doors close. Nyman’s “Sound” composition aims to trigger feelings of confinement. The “Smell” lift, designed by Aroma Co, emits smells such as pomegranate and fresh laundry via wall-mounted buttons, while the tactile “Touch” lift was devised by the Royal National Institute for the Blind.
The “Sixth Sense” lift, however, created by author and “cosmic ordering” expert Bärbel Mohr, encourages customers to send wishes to the universe and “reconnect with their inner self”.
On an only vaguely related note, meanwhile, I’d be curious to see if you could invert the expected volumetric relationship between stationary floors and moving elevators in a high-rise.
In other words, if elevators usually take up, say, one-twentieth of a building’s internal space, could you flip that ratio – and end up with just one stationary floor somewhere hanging out up there inside a labyrinth of elevators?
You have a job interview on that one, lone floor in a half an hour’s time – but you can’t find the place. You’re moving from elevator to elevator, going down again and stopping, then stepping across into another lift that takes you up four floors higher than you’d expected to be – before you’re going down again, confused. You hear other elevators when you’re not moving, and it’s impossible to locate yourself amidst that system of moving rooms. The only floors you ever exit onto are simply other elevators.
Then, through a coincidence of open lift doors, forming a temporary corridor through space, front and back doors open, stretching off through eight cars at a time, you glimpse the meeting room that you’re even right then supposed to be sitting down in for an interview… and you see people there waiting… but the doors all close and you’re back on the ground floor in no time.
You hear machines, cables, whirring gears.
Stunned, perhaps mesmerized, and already addicted to that well-machined state of vertically nomadic groundlessness, you smile, hit the UP button, and start again.