Spotlight on Design lecture with Suchi Reddy, Monday, July 17, at 6 pm
On view through September 4, 2023
This year we are thrilled to present the seventh Summer Block Party installation Look Here by Suchi Reddy. The installation fills the Museum’s colossal Great Hall while engaging, delighting, and even challenging visitors.
Founded in 2002, Reddy’s firm Reddymade Architecture and Design uses the guiding principle “form follows feeling,” a design ethos shaped by neuroaesthetics, the study of the brain’s response to design. Their diverse architectural and artistic work is driven by the belief that architecture and spatial experience have an impact on how we feel, how we shape society, and the positive contribution we can offer through design.
For Look Here, Reddy has designed a constellation of reflective fractals that visitors encounter on the oval ramp that fills the Museum’s Great Hall. Overhead are three oversized mirrored elements resembling fortune-teller toys, whimsical folded paper playthings beloved by generations of kids. The reflection of the Museum’s interior, the constant movement of the prismatic elements, and the changing sun create a spectacular contemplative space during the day and a lively entertainment space at night.
As visitors make their way along the ramp, they encounter iconic images of activist gatherings in Washington, DC such as the 1963 March on Washington, which marks its 60th anniversary this August. The photos underscore the idea that Washington was designed to not only house the seat of government but to be a physical representation of democratic ideals and beliefs. It furthers Reddy’s philosophy that buildings and landscapes impact how we feel and, in turn, shape our society.
As visitors come across these images in Look Here, they can see themselves in the reflective surfaces and join in these moments from our collective history.
At the peak of the ramp, visitors emerge into a round platform where they can recline on padded seating below a series of kaleidoscopic elements. These 8-foot-long kaleidoscopes reflect the striking architectural elements of the building including its eight massive Corinthian columns. At the center of the platform, an interactive volume reveals a kaleidoscopic experience to children and adults alike.
Look Here engages with the immense scale of the Great Hall, using perspective as a way to understand life as well as a mechanism to study architecture. Using the movement of the body through space to amplify experience, visitors can see shifting forms, both with the naked eye and their camera lenses.
About Suchi Reddy
Suchi Reddy founded Reddymade in 2002 with an approach to design that privileges the emotional quality of human engagement with space. Guided by her mantra “form follows feeling,” Reddy’s architectural and artistic practice is informed by her research at the intersection of neuroscience and the arts. Working towards a larger idea of design justice, she is dedicated to expanding our notions of empathy, equity, and agency—where the importance of design is recognized as an asset for the benefit of all, not just for some.
Reddy teaches at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, and Cooper Union’s Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture. She was the 2022 Walton Critic at the Catholic University of America, and the Plym Distinguished Professor at the University of Illinois School of Architecture, Champaign–Urbana in 2019, where her work focused on contemporary architectural experience through the lens of neuroaesthetics, neurophenomenology, and sensory design.
Reddy has presented and lectured on the firm’s work at numerous venues including The Salk Institute for the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture’s annual conference, the WSJ Future of Everything Festival, the Aspen Ideas Festival, University of Illinois, and the University of Wisconsin.
She sits on the board of the Design Trust for Public Space, Storefront for Art and Architecture, and Madame Architect; and she is a member of the Dean’s Board of Advisors at Detroit Mercy School of Architecture + Community Development.