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Contemporary Redesign of Historic Performance Space at Artists’ Retreat - Ragdale

En collaboration avec Benjamin Nicaud



The red curtain is a fundamental element of the fantasy associated with theater. Conventionally, its main purpose is to conceal the stage before the show, and to create a separation between actors and public. From the moment it opens, the curtain invites the audience to immerse itself in the world of drama.

The concept of our design is to use the curtain not only as interface between the public and the actors, but as an object itself, becoming an element of spatial and poetical intervention. Inspired by the dramatization of the curtain in classical theater, the design is sequenced as follows : at first sight, the red curtain floats mysteriously in the middle of the forest, hiding the stage. When the public is gathered, it unfolds, encircling the crowd and unveiling the actors. What was moments ago a flat lawn in the forest becomes an enclosed space, framing the forest in the drama’s background as decor. By defining a spatial limit, the circle space invites the public to feel closer to the drama, both physically and theatrically, as if they have become an actor of the drama too.

The site we chose for our design is the flat lawn between the Ragdale House and the Barn House, an area that can be well accommodated with the modular feature of the curtain. The circle curtain echoes the original 1912 Ragdale ring form. The design consists of 20 wooden pillars, supporting a steel rail where the curtain hangs.