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Twitter’s ‘Powered by Tweets’ exhibition at the London Design Festival 2015 has been designed and curated by Bureau de Change Architects.
The approach to the spatial design was to translate in three-dimensions the six winning concept proposals, entered as part of the competition set by Twitter. In order to create an impactful, unified and memorable experience, and establish fluid visitor flow, the spaces have been curated by means of a sensorial narrative and cohered by the integration of the installations into the fabric and character of Somerset House.
The exhibition opens with the reverberation of sounds from a typewriter, which bounce around the cavernous spaces and monolithic volumes emerging from the geometry of the traditional parquet floor beneath. The first installation - 'Word by Word' - creates a book as never seen before. Each word of Alice in Wonderland is printed via real time tweets, producing a seemingly infinite scroll of paper, which gathers at the bottom of the tank. For 'Pigeon Air Patrol', unexpected volumes rise in the centre of the space, acting as booths for viewing information, gathered by pollution monitoring pigeons as they fly you through four capitals of the world and report on the air quality. The vibrancy of sound, volumes and moving image, create an immediate connection between the visitor and exhibition content, bringing a physicality to the digital medium and creating a bold first impression.
A transition into calmness and comfort is established in the second space, in which shafts of soft colour are cast across the space. The windows of Somerset House are filled with tanks of coloured liquid, representing the rainbow flag. This installation, titled '#PutRedBack' raises awareness that gay men don't have equal rights in blood donation, in spite of the need for donors - one in four Britons will rely on donated blood in their lifetime. The final tank, fills with red liquid drop by drop, physically illustrating support for the campaign in real time. A crystalline mirror clad room reflects the soothing glow of the tanks, seeming almost to disappear as it seamlessly bounces back the symmetry of the surrounding interior and its elegant features. The snug and textural interior of this room is topped with a screen of mesmeric moving imagery, which invites visitors to lie down on its cushioned floor. Titled 'Social Mindscape', this space represents a therapeutic escapism for Cancer patients, in which soothing imagery can be created for each patient as they undergo treatment.
The serene quality of the second space is finally swept away by the visual punch and dramatic atmosphere in the final room, in which darkened walls highlight a captivating digital display for 'Word Watching', which flickers in real time with popular words used in Tweets. This illustrates the evolution of language and Twitter's power to monitor this. A water pump sits before a map sprinkled in lights for 'Tweet Taps' - an interactive display, which demonstrates to Water Aid donors where their donations are being used and their impact on surrounding communities (390 lights relate to actual pump locations in the world's countries in need).