Arthur Koutoulas — Main Stage Activation
“We’re playing with scale, and we’re exploring a design outcome that is indeed scaleless. The result is essentially more of a sculpture that transcends categorisation and disciplines.”
Discover a striking balance between form, materiality and conceptual explorations at this year’s Main Stage, a dynamic expression of designer Arthur Koutoulas’s signature approach.
The conceptual framework for the Main Stage explores the relationship between art and architecture, negotiating the role of art and design in an immersive architectural application. This is an ongoing avenue of exploration in Koutoulas’s approach to creating design experiences of scale. The Main Stage explores the scope of creative possibilities that arise when the boundaries between theses disciplines are blurred.
Scale is a central element in the activation’s design scheme. Following a continuum that grew and evolved in scale, Koutoulas’s design began with a single stool, progressively ‘scaling up’ to consider the stool as a chair, and then applying the same design approach to creating a wall. From the wall came an entire space, and then a consideration of how the space would integrate into a building.
Characteristic to Koutoulas’s methodology, the Main Stage defines conventional categorisation, engaging visitors on a multi-sensory level. It dissolves the boundaries between art, design and furniture. Technically, the design comprises a simple interlocking structure with elements that slot into one another. This criss-cross interlocking structure references historical building techniques that have existed for centuries, which is the basis for how the whole installation stands upright and supported.
Interconnected materials are another defining element of the design. Joyce Foam is one of the softest building materials that exist in the market, a hero material used throughout the space. Koutoulas has playfully interchanged stronger and weaker foams, exploring the creative potential of the material that humans so often engage with throughout the day and night. Following the activation’s lifespan, these foams will be mulched up and compressed into carpet underlays, expressing Koutoulas and his collaborator’s commitment to closed-loop, sustainable design practices.
Intent on exploring new ways of using traditional materials, the same principles apply to the application of EC Carpets in the activation. Koutoulas and his team have treated and cut the carpet in innovative ways referencing the activation’s design language, applying it as a kind of upholstery fabric to achieve a sense of visual cohesion and unity across the space.
Both a literal and conceptual platform for showcasing design experimentation and creative thinking, Koutoulas reflects on the opportunity to participate in Design Show Australia, noting how much he values the experience of designing an activation like the Main Stage that isn’t bound to commercial constraints and longevity considerations.