inside the historic former state savings bank in downtown detroit, artist doug aitken sets an immersive, mirrored installation that reflects the environment in which it is situated, thus activating this seminal site. opened to the public on october 10, 2018, ‘mirage detroit’ takes the form of a one-story, american suburban house entirely clad in a mirrored façade and internally housing a labyrinth of rooms and halls. on the ground, visitors traverse a terrain of river rocks and earth in order to reach the structure, beckoning them to enter the artwork.

doug aitken mirage detroit
all images by conner macphee

 

 

upon entering the early 1900s bank building — which had been unoccupied for decades — ‘mirage detroit’ presents itself as a human-scale kaleidoscope, drawing in and reflecting everything that surrounds it. with every surface and detail of the sculpture mirrored, the contrast between aged architectural details, marble flooring and earth and stone surfaces is extreme. furthermore, aitken has created ‘mirage detroit’ as a continually changing experience, an ever-shifting landscape that marries the organic and inorganic, reflects the industrial past of the site, and poses an architectural idea.

doug aitken mirage detroit
‘mirage detroit’ takes the form of a one-story, american suburban house entirely clad in a mirrored façade

 

 

the structure — a seemingly ordinary suburban dwelling devoid of its inhabitants — now functions in response to its environment. its doors and windows have been peeled away to generate a fluid relationship with the surrounding landscape, framing and distort the world outside of it. the building is devoid of natural light and its windows darkened. carefully choreographed white light — a scheme created in collaboration with experimental lighting designer andi watson — slowly meanders across the interior, gradually shifting the reflections on ‘mirage detroit’s’ surface.

doug aitken mirage detroit
visitors traverse a terrain of river rocks and earth in order to reach the structure

 

 

throughout the duration of its exhibition, ‘mirage detroit’ will host a calendar of cultural events, educational programs, musical performances, and conversations open to the public.

doug aitken mirage detroit
the contrast between aged architectural details, marble flooring and earth and stone surfaces is extreme

doug aitken mirage detroit
doors and windows are peeled away to generate a fluid relationship with the surroundings

doug aitken mirage detroit
‘mirage detroit’ will host a calendar of cultural events

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

    PRODUCT LIBRARY

    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    art news