The world’s first permanent edition of the Rain Room installation has been launched at the Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF). Conceptualised by Random International, a collaborative experimental art studio founded by Hannes Koch and Florian Ortkrass, the installation is housed in a purpose-built space spanning around 1,500m2, and located in the Al Majarrah district.
The installation, which made its debut at London’s Barbican Centre in 2012, and has since travelled to New York, Los Angeles and Shanghai, allows visitors to pass through a torrent of water but remain dry, thanks to motion sensors, which detect movement and cause the rain to stop.
Apart from the novelty that is expected to attract visitors, Founders Koch and Ortkrass, also hope that it will lead to conversations about mechanisation and automation that are increasingly becoming integral to our lives.
Ever since the SAF acquired an edition of the Rain Room in 2013, it has spent the past five years focusing on the engineering and architectural components to make the permanent installation possible.
Rain Room uses around 1,200 litres of self-cleaning, recycled water which, to put in perspective, is less water than it takes to make a regular hamburger in a fast food restaurant. The building housing the artwork itself is energy efficient.
According to the firm, while every edition of Rain Room has to be in a controlled environment in terms of temperature, but with this permanent installation, every single detail has been designed with even greater consideration. “Essentially, the guts of Rain Room have been redeveloped for this edition and rightfully so because it will run for years and years.”