an outdoor exhibition of art installations and site-specific works is currently taking place across the coachella valley and its desert landscape. as part of the epic project, doug aitken has realized ‘mirage’ — a typical california ranch style house completely clad in reflective mirrored surfaces. in thinking about the architectural aspects of the artwork, aitken drew from the iconic ranch typology and the rich history of the area, sourcing stylistic cues from frank lloyd wright’s highly influential role in shaping the american west. 

doug aitken mirage
a typical california ranch style house has been completely clad in mirrors
all images by lance gerber / courtesy the artist and desert X

 

 

sited at the juncture where the san jacinto mountain range opens up to the coachella valley, aitken’smirage‘ acts as a life-size kaleidoscope, reflecting the vast, arid landscape. framing and distorting its surroundings, the reflective installation changes throughout the day, creating a range of unique experiences. each variation provides viewers with a different engagement and sense of space — at night, the distant lights bounce of the building’s façade and create a universe of stars; in the afternoon, blue skies are transformed into fragments of color intersected by pieces of clouds.

doug aitken mirage
‘mirage’ frames and distorts views of its desert surroundings

 

 

the installation is reconfigured as an architectural idea, where a seemingly ordinary suburban home becomes devoid of its inhabitants. ‘mirage’ functions in response to the desert landscape that surrounds it, with its doors, windows, and openings removed to create a more fluid relationship its environment.

 

aitken’s work has been created as a part of desert X — a site-specific art exhibition of established and emerging artists curated by artistic director neville wakefield. ‘mirage’ will remain on view through october 31, 2017, after desert X’s conclusion on april 30, 2017.

doug aitken mirage
each mirrored experience provides viewers with a different engagement and sense of space

doug aitken mirage
the seemingly ordinary suburban home becomes devoid of its inhabitants

doug aitken mirage
aitken’s work has been created as a part of desert X — a site-specific art exhibition

doug aitken mirage
the installation overlooks the juncture where the san jacinto mountain range opens up to the coachella valley

doug aitken mirage
by night, the distant lights bounce of the building’s façade and create a universe of stars

  • Mirrored structures like this one are a death trap for birds. They fly directly into the walls believing them not to be walls and die. Architects should refrain from building structures with mirrored exterior facades.

    william green says:
  • All I can think of is bird strikes. Can architecture really just ignore and endanger creatures for ego?

    Sheryl says:

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