Cosentino and ANARCHITECT Unveil
Slow-Tech Public Installation ‘Context Reflections’
At Dubai Design Week 2021

Research-based installation focused on natural light, materiality and sustainability is built using Cosentino’s carbon neutral collection Silestone Sunlit Days

Architectural surfaces leader Cosentino and award-winning Dubai and London based design practice ANARCHITECT jointly unveiled ‘Context Reflections’ a slow-tech public installation at the heart of Dubai Design District (d3) as part of Dubai Design Week from 8-13 November 2021.

Built using Sunlit Days, the first-ever carbon neutral surfaces collection from Silestone by Cosentino, the permeable installation invites visitors to enter a darkened chamber to pause and discover the intriguing play of penetrated light created via a naturally occurring optical phenomenon. The self-operating, analogue installation draws inspiration from the principles of ‘Camera Obscura’ of why we see what we see. The moving images conjured on the inside wall – inverted ‘live’ projections of the surroundings outside the construction – suggestively asks visitors to slow down, observe with attention and reflect on the constantly changing environment.

In a panel discussion moderated by regional design expert Rue Kothari during the launch event at Cosentino City Dubai on 7th November, the ANARCHITECT Design Team and Cosentino’s Middle East Marketing Manager Miriam Llano revealed several facets of the installation.

Elaborating on the concept, Founder and Director of ANARCHITECT Jonathan Ashmore commented,

“Context Reflections continues ANARCHITECT’s ongoing research into the relationship of natural light, materials, and the importance of context in all architecture and interior spaces we engage in. Given the diverse and unique international settings the Practice works in, the installation concept was developed by our Team for Cosentino to highlight the consistent importance of light and materiality in our work; as well as raise our sustainable collective consciousness by going back to basics  and calling for the observation of the contexts that surround us, here purposefully using a low-tech, full-scale analog design tool”. 

Senior Architect Tom Herd from ANARCHITECT spoke about how imagination is triggered by the low light conditions of the installation,

“In our urban environment we are over exposed to light. Yet from an evolutionary point of view, the human eye is tuned for twilight rather than bright light. According to Finnish Architect Juhani Pallasmaa, imagination and daydreaming are stimulated by dim light and shadow. This installation is essentially a dark chamber lit only by natural light passing through a “pin hole”. Once the eyes adjust to the low light conditions within, ambiguous upside-down images of the external world slowly reveal themselves to the visitor. It often comes as a surprise.” 

A technically challenging construction built with precise geometry, ‘Context Reflections’ holds on to the principles of simplicity and practical sustainability.

”It was important to us that the installation was designed mindfully with minimal material wastage and is a demountable, reusable structure to give it the possibility of a second and even third life” 

explained Matt Harding, another member of the ANARCHITECT design team behind the project

Remarking on how carbon neutral has become a greenwashed phrase, Miriam Llano, Marketing Manager Cosentino Middle East explained how Silestone Sunlit Days, the material used to create the installation, pushes several boundaries in its entire life cycle to achieve true carbon neutrality.

“Silestone Sunlit Days is a pathbreaking carbon neutral series not only because it is produced using 99% reused water, 100% renewable electric energy and a minimum of 20% recycled raw materials in its composition but also because of our commitment to offset the CO² emissions of the entire life cycle of the Sunlit Days series. ‘Context Reflections’ by ANARCHITECT for Cosentino is a tool to educate the consumer on what is possible. It is a meeting ground of materiality, environmental sensitivity and pure design.”

A deflection to the overbearing amount of information and technology, ‘Context Reflections’ creates an opportunity for introspective contemplation, asking observers to further question the importance of natural light, the environment, social behavior and the responsibility to preserve and behold all that is important.

“We hope this experimental installation will make people pause and think, ask questions, rather than just take a photo and walk away”

concluded Jonathan

Context Reflections is located in d3 between Building 6 and 7.