and converse as if in the same room, uninhibited or distracted by the interior
or even the technology that is making it possible.
The first two were installed in December of last year at the Lu Magnus
Art Gallery in New York City and the M- 40 Arts Studio in Tehran. This month
there will be four conversations up and running at the same time. “Our
setup is the same everywhere,” explained Bakshi. Each portal is a simple,
lightweight kit of parts that can be shipped anywhere from Afghanistan to
Liberia, and the Shared_Spaces team works to make sure the experience is
the same in both low- and high-bandwidth areas.
Julia Molloy Gallagher (architectural designer and project manager with
Rockwell Group) helped bring Portals to life while working at architecture and
design firm Spacesmith, when she got connected with Bakshi and brought
him in for a meeting. “We brainstormed on how this idea could be easy to
implement and easy to deploy anywhere in the world. We didn’t want the
users to be distracted by the materials they’d be surrounded by,” she said.
All containers are grey boxes of drywall on the inside, with indoor/outdoor
carpeting and one white wall at the end that houses all the needed technology
“At the end of the day, it wasn’t about the beauty of the design. It was
about making it invisible so you just have a connection from one person to
another,” Gallagher said.
And that connection has proved more important than they’d ever imagined,
with people exiting the portals sometimes weeping, sometimes giddy with
excitement and joy.
To find out about more Shared_Studios initiatives and how you can bring
a Portal to your city, visit www.sharedstudios.com.
28 INTERIORS & SOURCES SEPTEMBER 2015 interiorsandsources.com
➤ continued from page 26
What an experience to literally carve a wormhole through the world. I was amazed how quickly this
experience got through the layers of politics, religion, and preconceived notions. My hope is
that this experience can be available for people around the world. Particularly between areas of the world
that poorly understand one another.
LEFT TO RIGHT
and its opening