Commissioned by The Fifth sense, a partnership between Chanel and i-D magazine, the Mirror Maze was created by British set designer Es Devlin.
Having created stage sets for Adele, Beyonce, Kanye West, U2, Jay Z and having designed the London Olymic closing ceremony, the Rio opening ceremony, with awards including 3 Olivier awards, an OBE, and The Critics Circle Theatre award, Es’ work is usually seen in vast theatres or arenas.
For a five day solo show, this was to be an intensely personal project occupying a former warehouse in Peckham, Es Devlin combined video projections, visceral sound design, faceted mirror rooms and pathways with a bespoke Chanel scent to create the multi roomed immersive installation.
Diagon was commissioned to build the four roomed installation from designers plans and scale models.
The installation was open to the public for five days and along with an opening party for 500 invited guests, a heavy daily footfall with a fast turn around of visitors was anticipated.
The first was a darkened space showing a large scale film of the installation being crafted by the designer. Guests would then enter into a complex multi levelled maze of faceted mirrored walls, walkways and staircases through an oval porthole in the projection.
As visitors explored the space, reaching corridors and dead ends, their image would be multiplied and reflected onto the walls around them. A second film was rear projected onto a curved screen that rose out of a 10 metre wide black pool of water. A 4m x 10m glass mirrored wall reflected the film vertically whilst the water reflected the film horizontally creating a fully immersive video installation. The final room was infused with a red glow, filled with smoke and perfumed with scent of the exclusive fragrance Chanel created for the installation.
Working from detailed sketches, scale models and CG renders, Diagon collaborated with the designer and project manager Nick Levitt on various different drafts of the maze before arriving at the final version.
A stepped steeldeck substructure was to form the foundations for over 300 lateral metres of timber clad polished aluminium mirror double sided walls. The structure was to be self-supporting and freestanding, the verticals connected internally to the steeldeck and raised platforms so that no supports of fixings were visible. This was essential due to the highly reflective environment. The anticipated footfall and visitor interaction was considered in the engineering design process, ensuring it was robust and able to withstand 5 days of heavy traffic.
I want to say a massive thank you to all of you. You are heroes of the highest order. I've been really moved by how much dedication and passion you have put into this project. It means the world to me.