As the culmination of this year’s Manchester International Festival, the organizers decided to put on a program of solo works by Bach. The only problem was that they didn’t have a suitable chamber-music hall. So they approached Zaha Hadid to design a temporary one, and she obliged, with a ribbon of fabric that swirls around inside the Manchester Art Gallery.
The translucent fabric is supported by a steel frame, which itself is suspended from the ceiling. The form, according to Hadid’s press release, is meant to respond to Bach’s intricate harmonies, and it does so by looping around the performer and audience. Not that the design was pure whimsy: The scale and shape were tweaked for acoustic considerations, which are paramount in what would otherwise be an echoing white box of a space. In particular, acrylic panels, designed to give the room the perfect amount of resonance, were hidden within the ribbon, and around the stage.
The installation is up for the duration of the festival, which ends on July 18.