A Sculpture by the Sea entry, The Desert Island is a curved 73-metre wall of mirrors that rise from the sand to create the illusion of an endless Cottesloe Beach reflected back to admiring viewers.
Conceived by the Danish architecture studio, Gjøde & Partnere Arkitekter, the installation was part of the annual Sculpture By The Sea exhibition in Australia. It is the largest free public sculpture exhibition in the world. As beachgoers stumbled upon this panorama of shore upon sand, they awed at the stunning vision of the sun wavering off the surrounding reflections of the sea.
It is a sublime installation, where isolation and intimacy mirror each other. Johan Gjøde, creative director and founder of Gjøde & Partnere Arkitekter, describes the installation as both a framing of the landscape and a framework for social interaction.
“The movement and interaction of people on The Desert Island is an integral part of the experience of the work," explained Gjøde. "Kids playing on the beach, couples walking in the sand, friends relaxing together – all shapes and colours become part of the installation. Facing west the installation also catches and emphasizes the spectacular sunsets for which the area is renowned thus adding a new spatial dimension to this scenic event.”
Using simple geometry and reflection as visual effect, the firm created an inviting space for people to interact both socially and visually. Not only does the curved wall create the illusion of an ethereal isolated island and trigger the imagination, people who enter also experience the simple beauty of the beautiful, ever-changing Australian landscape. They become part of the reflection of the scenic surroundings and the installation and allows for them to reflect on how they are a part of the landscape itself.