Peter Ippolito
Thursday 15 Jul 2010

A cosmopolitan, communicative interior for Uzbekistan's most important representative building

The Palace of International Forums, Uzbekistan stands on Amir Timur Square in the very centre of Tashkent. The country's most important representative building is designed as a platform for hosting acts of state, congresses, conferences and other cultural highlights. Our task was to give the interior a contemporary form, while incorporating elements from traditional Uzbek architecture. The result is a cosmopolitan, communicative interior clothed in exclusive materials.

Planar ornamentation, organic movement, crystals, precious metals and a fascinating interplay of artificial and natural light all become a source of inspiration. Behind illuminated façade columns of Thassos marble a similarly weighty epochal semicircular Swarovski chandelier dominates the main foyer. Gigantic and contrastive, the two structural elements of columns and chandelier, conjunctions of various architectural traditions, introduce syntheses of Western and Eastern culture. The generosity of the main foyer with a ceiling height of over 16 m and an area of 2,500 sq m is deliberately staged and atmospherically compact. The spectacular chandelier with its 9m height and 23 m length outlines the longitudinal axis of the foyer. Reflecting the front of the building, a gallery marks the longitudinal axis. To the sides it opens up into diametrical open staircases in an open, embracing gesture to the foyer.

Ornamentation is applied throughout the building in a diverse variety of possibilities and materials to provide stylistic elements of the country's culture. The element that does most to give the building its identity and also the building's largest room is the 1,850-seat Auditorium. With the 'house within a house' the generous palace architecture - softer and organic - finds a counterpart in the interior. Plastically bulging out, the body of the hall asserts itself in the exterior area of the main foyer and gallery. Its skin - the world's largest liquid metal surface - measures 2,000 sq m.


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