Dancing outside the box, the Australian Ballet invites an innovative young architect, Kelvin Ho, to bring new life to set and costume design for their latest production.
Kelvin Ho still remembers first learning about space Sydney Opera House. The magnificient and internationally known building of Jørn Utzon’s on Sydney Harbour was one of the first designs Kelvin Ho studied at university, and it continues to be a very special place for him. So when the sought-after young architect-designer was given the chance to not only design his first-ever stage set, but a set that would sit within that iconic space, he was stunned with the idea.
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To most people, Kevin Ho is the amazing face behind the Sydney-based design studio Akin Creative. The client list is impressive, including Dion Lee, A.P.C. and Merivale’s Justin Hemmes. Now he can add the Australian Ballet to his amazing list.
Despite never had worked in the performing arts before, Kelvin Ho’s process was the same used to any other client. Whether for the myriad fashion spaces he and his team are responsable for projects such as Lover and Vanishing Elephant, or the eclectic interiors he has overseen for restaurants including Ms. G’s and Papi Chulo.
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For the Australian Ballet production, Kelvin Ho worked with a creative team that included an electro-acoustic German music duo and the lighting designer Benjamin Cisterne. He also collaborated with Harbour regarding the creating of simple, pared back costumes. His design statement is titled Birds in a Thunderstorm, with references of objects in a charged space that constantly shift from languid and peaceful to aggressive vortex. It’s a phrase he and Harbour are using to bring the production to life.
The set itself is a deceptively simple semi- circular pale white wall that will sometimes appear flat, sometimes curved, depending on Cisterne’s lighting. Built from curved timber flaps and fabric, Harbour’s requirements were that it works within the Sydney and Melbourne theatres in addition to being able to tour abroad. Kelvin Ho project is a true inspiration to the art´s world.
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