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Wind Arbor and Rain Oculus by Ned Khan

Marina Bay Sands is an integrated resort known for its unique architectural design that has become an iconic part of Singapore’s skyline. The integrated resort includes a hotel, casino, convention centre and sprawling retail mall filled with top designer and luxury brands as well as restaurants helmed by distinguished chefs, but not many might realise that it is also home to several astonishing artworks. Within the resort are 11 large-scale installations by internationally renowned artists including Antony Gormley, Chongbin Zheng, Ned Kahn, James Carpenter and the late Sol LeWitt. The artworks were personally curated by Moshe Safdie, the Isreali-Canadian architect who is also behind the design of Marina Bay Sands.

In this edition of AO Art Spotting, we are focusing on two installations by American artist Ned Kahn, the first being Wind Arbor. Covering the entire western facade of the hotel atrium, which spans 6,800 sqm It is the largest and most prominent installation amongst the artworks. The sculpture comprises 260,000 aluminium plates mounted on hinges and suspended from steel cables, allowing them to flutter freely in rhythm with the wind. At times, the plates catch the sunlight, creating an amazing spectacle of shimmering movement and fluidity. The artwork is not just stunning to observe but also ingeniously functions as a shade by blocking half of the sunlight and heat from entering the hotel lobby.

Wind Arbor by Ned Khan. (Image source)

Kahn is a modern environmental artist who creates interactive artworks to visualise the invisible natural phenomena, such as the wind’s breeze. Many of his creations emphasise the raw, unaltered forces of the world we live in.

Besides Wind Arbor, Kahn monumental sculpture located in the heart of the mall, titled Rain Oculus. This sculpture features a 22-meter diameter acrylic bowl mounted on top of a stainless steel superstructure, collectively weighing over 90 tonnes. The design creates a whirlpool of water that is visible from the promenade level, with a hole in the middle, where the water falls dramatically two stories to a pool below. Just like Wind Arbor, this sculpture also has a dual function:it is at once a skylight and rain collector. The rain water collected in the bowl is recycled back into the whirlpool to fill a canal that runs through the atrium. This is the running theme through all of Kahn’s works: a clever combination of nature and desigN to create magnificent works of art that not only suit the practical needs of the building but also seamlessly blend with its surroundings.

Top view of Rain Oculus outside of Marina Bay Sands, The Shoppes. (Image source)

Rain Oculus seen from the inside of the building. (Image source)

These works by Ned Kahn were just two of eight artworks in our Marina Bay Sands Art Path Tour that we used to run for students and the public. We offer other public art programmes such as Art in Transit and Art in the City for the primary schools, please contact us here for more information.

What other artworks have you encountered while visiting Marina Bay Sands? What other public artworks do you love in Singapore? Let us know in the comments or through our social media channels on Instagram or Facebook.

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