MAD Freezes the Moment of Art Creation during MDW

Chinese architecture firm, MAD Architects, led by Ma Yansong presented the installation “Momentum” at the Milan Design Week 2023.

Installations have always taken the attention at the Milan Design Week. This year MAD created a 12.5-metre-tall cube, named Momentum, which was inserted into the courtyard of the University of Milan. The cube measures eight metres along each of its edges and is anchored to the grassy lawn of the university’s courtyard at a 45-degree angle.

It was constructed using ETFE – a plastic polymer that is often used as an alternative to glass, which was fixed across the surface of the iron frame and used to conceal the interior of the structure. Given the reflective material quality of the ETFE polymer used, during the daytime its surface reflects its surroundings. At night it became a light beacon as a result of an artificial light source by L&L Luce&Light situated within the cube structure.

“Momentum seeks to freeze the moment of art creation, with the simplest cube used as a carrier to undertake different forms of art expression. Momentum, exhibited during the Salone del Mobile, hopes to evoke the solidification and refinement of time with this form,” according to Ma Yansong, the principal architect of MAD Architects.

In the daytime, Momentum’s skin reflects the surrounding environment of the courtyard of Statale University, becoming a forever-changing art form of its own. As night falls, and the installation turns transparent and ethereal, the lighting inside illuminates a new character,” said  Yansong.

The artificial lighting was created with nine lights, which were set to pulse at intervals to create a beating heart-like rhythm. The placement of the ETFE across the iron structure means light is able to glow between each of the long strips.

During this, MAD’s fifth participation in Milan Design Week, the works brought have been accompanied by a breakthrough of boundaries and the integration of diverse arts. “With the end of the COVID pandemic, we’ve placed more consideration on communication and the interchange of multiculturalism,” says Yansong.