It’s Raining Indoors! Yet No One Is Wet…

Categories: Design, Visual Art By Francesco Bassetti


Christmas is over! Relieved or sad as you might be, one thing is for sure: no one wants to be out spending money. That’s why we recommend taking a trip to the Barbican centre, London, where an exhibition of great originality is currently open to the public for free.

The Rainroom is in fact a carefully choreographed installation whose function is to recreate rainy weather indoors. The effect is quite impressive; as one walks into the exhibition room the feeling of moisture and the sound of pouring rain are the first stimuli to hit the senses. One is filled with a sense of calm and stillness as you stand peering curiously at this wall of water, which seems so far from its natural habitat. You are invited to walk into the rain, yet initially it is hard to believe you will not get wet under the downpour and it takes some initiative to take those first few steps. Yet, in a magical fashion, as you walk slowly toward the rain it seems to part before you creating a path that follows whatever direction you might take and wraps behind, leaving you enveloped in rain, yet dry.


Once in the Rainroom there is feeling of calm and serenity, as the soothing pitter-patter all around contributes to the surreal effect of being indoors, under the rain and yet staying dry, as if you were spectating from behind a glass window. The installation is a great example of interactive art whereby it is the spectator’s involvement in the piece that makes it what it is. The artists responsible, who are part of the group ‘Random International’, regard their work as an Engineering challenge, characterized by the complexity of programming sensors to detect the movement of people and therefore turn the taps of water on and off so that the spectator does not get wet as he walks around. Yet, they also claim that it is a work of art in the pristine sense of the word. Whereas an object of design should serve a given function, the Rainroom has a purely artistic purpose aimed only at giving any admirer a feeling of awe, serenity and satisfaction. They go a long way toward achieving their desired goal and the result is a fascinating piece of art.


Photos taken at The Barbican, courtesy of Carlo Di Blasi.