#freedomchains is a pavilion design commissioned for the annual Archifest 2022 at the Singapore URA Atrium.

Themed “The Order of Love”, the festival invited architects and the built environment community to contemplate and visualise a more loving and hospitable future in this post-pandemic era. This year, there are seven festival pavilions, each representing different elements of a loving environment: Connection, Justice, Unity, Freedom, Play, Common Good and Restoration.

Titled #freedomchains, the Freedom pavilion seeks to allude to the symbolisms, dualities, and rich layers of the theme based on our Love for the environment and the migrant workers’ community. Chains are deliberately used as the central theme where one part is an antonym restricting freedom and the other is an integral conduit allowing free movement like those in Bicycles. The pavilion aims to recast this humble everyday object into an extraordinary visual motif of freedom and exploration in our built environment.

One thousand bicycle chains drape and assemble in the heart of the URA atrium, forming the letters F, R, E, E on the ground. It also opens up to interesting interstitial spaces created by each letter and is a symbolic figure-ground of the city. The pavilion acts as a strategic public node where communal freedom is structured and ordered as a porous structure. Visitors are invited into the pavilion from various entry points, weaving in and out of the sea of chains levitating under an endless, ethereal sky, which creates a sensorial experience of space, luminosity and visual perception. These chains play on the interaction of each cylindrical link to produce an ephemeral moiré effect as they rattle and echo through the atrium. It is an immersive field that advocates for a greener mode of transportation, inspires highly mobile urban citizens, and also shares our Love for the migrant workers’ community.

The design is committed to contributing back to the community and circular design. As such, the bicycle chains used in #freedomchains are donated post-festival to various migrant worker dormitories around Singapore for their daily commute. The team has also leveraged partnerships with three local bicycle repair shops to further value-add repairs and maintenance services post-festival. Whereas the scaffoldings will disappear and await their next deployment elsewhere.

Technical Statement:
The luminous sky is realised using a backlit membrane with carefully placed (in relation to hidden chain anchors) LED strip devices creating the even false sky glow.

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