As one of the highlights of this year’s Dubai Design Week, Dubai-based architecture practice ANARCHITECT has collaborated with innovative surface brand Cosentino to bring Context Reflections, a unique concept that aims to replicate the principles of ‘Camera obscura’ – a model for how our eyes work and see.

“Our brain re-processes the inverted image projected on to our retina to construct the perception of the world as we know it,” said Jonathan Ashmore, the Founder and Principal Architect at the architectural practice, describing the intention behind the life-size analogue research tool.

“The installation is encountered as an enclosed chamber and reveals itself internally as a transposed reflection of the surrounding context – capturing a naturally occurring optical phenomena. A small oculus will project the inverted and diffused outside world, inside,” he added.

The purposefully lo-tech installation aims to encourage introspective contemplation through the experience of natural light, while offering a reflective space for visitors to enjoy. The feature also provides for a break from an overtly digitalized environment, calling for observation, while playing on raising our sustainable collective consciousness.

“The brief called for a demountable and re-usable structure to allow for future relocation and re-use. To re-purpose is a fundamental approach of the ANARCHITECT team and thus we proposed an installation design with minimal material waste and easily demountable components,” said Ashmore.

“Our architects hand made a number of maquettes in order to refine the geometry and ensure the optics of the device were accurate,” the principal architect explained, referencing the challenges brought on by creating the full-scale installation. Context Reflections will also have flexibility built into its design so that the focus angle can be adjusted as required or if the structure is relocated.

The installation will be built using Sunlit Days, the first-ever carbon neutral surfaces collection from Silestone by Cosentino. The manufacturing process uses 99% reused water, 100% renewable electric energy, a blend of minerals and quartz and a minimum of 20% recycled raw materials in its composition, while significantly reducing the presence of crystalline silica.

“The installation is designed with future re-purposing of the structure and materials in mind,” added Ashmore. “The carefully selected materials will serve as both the primary exterior and interior surface - and will be layered with fundamental questions – urging spectators to reflect, observe and consider the holistic experience of the immediate context, material and wider sustainable responsibility. “

Context Reflections will be staged at Dubai Design Week in the heart of d3 from 8-13 November, 2021.