doug aitken occupies former bank in detroit with a mind-warping, mirror-clad house
 

doug aitken occupies former bank in detroit with a mind-warping, mirror-clad house

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

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