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Berlin Fashion Week 2015

These days it seems art trumps the dictates of fashion. Hipsters may have once been drawn to the bright lights of couture, but now the main attraction is art. Of course, it has to be suitably stylish, a proper collection presented in an oversized showcase, to get its due attention. And a touch of the bizarre, a little extravagance and a concerted appeal to all the senses won’t hurt the cause either. The Panorama fashion fair at Berlin’s Fashion Week was all this and more. Previously held in the halls of BER airport at Schönefeld, the opening of which has again been pushed back at least to 2017, the January event was the second showing at the ICC exhibition grounds in downtown Berlin. The Expo Center City is more than merely a convenient location; it also offers far more space than the old venue. 

On the downside, the corridors between six exhibition halls are as nondescript as they come. The Panorama promoters spared neither expense nor effort to beautify these walkways and the entranceway with captivating images of tunnels projected for the duration of fair. “We wanted to present new showcasing options to retailers and demonstrate how to animate sales floors and create eye-catchers,” says Panorama project manager Jens Rüberg, a lecturer at Berlin’s Technical University who gives classes for a master’s program entitled Set and Scenic Spaces. He certainly achieved his goals with the help of two illustrious artist collectives and satis&fy’s technical support. 

satis&fy project manager Jürgen Mertens and his team set up two different installations in five days using more than 84 Watchout-controlled, flown projectors that threw imagines onto walls and floors. An eight-channel system provided sound reinforcement. prjktr furnished the images for the entrance area and Tamschick Media+Space GmbH for the other six rooms, each 35 m long with 5 m ceilings. 

Tamschick composes elaborate multimedia shows designed to treat visitors to a holistic, 3D spatial experience. Kling Klang Klong’s sound designers furnished the audio for six themes Tamschick had created. ‘Space-Time Journey’ featured surreal, floor-to-ceiling desert vistas that glided past visitors. In ‘Body Timelapse,’ figures danced towards one another, dissolving in trails of light against a backdrop of Stygian badlands. ‘Crystal Kaleidoscope’ enveloped visitors in a glittering treasure chest. prjktr also specializes in conjuring holistic virtual spaces–the stuff of visions, if you will–using lighting and projections in intriguing combinations. In this case, the firm projected its interpretation of the fair’s logo–a galaxy in an aquarium–onto the bridge that brings visitors to the Panorama show. The imagery suggested that distance is in the eye of the beholder, be it meters or ‘Light Years,’ an apt name for this installation. 

Visitors’ captured images and videos of distant constellations with sparkling points of light, multihued clouds and dancing triangles on a pitch black backdrop on their cell phones, perhaps to share their impressions of this meta-media production with the terrestrial stars and starlets that frequent fashion blogs. The disparate universes of art and merchandising overlapped at this momentary wrinkle in the space-time continuum.

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