Benoit Pailley

Street fairs, block parties, fireworks, and food trucks all create public gathering spaces in spots that people may otherwise pass through. These events are outside, but then are tented to protect festivity-goers from weather and heat, reducing the connection between indoor activity and outside air.

A recent project, displayed this weekend at the Echo Art Fair in Buffalo, N.Y., brings the indoor and outdoor closer together, with mirrored Mylar foil tents.

The tent concept, called "MirrorMirror," was the winner of a competition held earlier this year by the Storefront for Art and Architecture and the New Museum to design "temporary outdoor structures" to be used at New York City's Ideas City festival in May.

Stephanie Davidson and Georg Rafailidis of Davidson Rafailidis Architecture are the minds behind "MirrorMirror." The duo are also both faculty in the University of Buffalo's architecture department; Rafailidis is an assistant professor and Davidson is a clinical assistant professor.

Rafailidis explains that he was inspired by trains in Germany with mirrored ceilings. The tents produce a dual experience: the inside reflects a "birds-eye view" of the people inside whereas the outside shows "the context," he says.

Credit: Benoit Pailley

The tents are also designed to be lightweight and easy to move. The tent's roof is constructed of reflective Mylar with aluminum frames, which is attached to a steel tripod base. The set-up for one tent takes about five minutes, Rafailidis says.

Assembly of MirrorMirror

Assembly of MirrorMirror

Credit: Georg Rafailidis

The tents will be displayed to the public in front of Buffalo's Central Library on Saturday, Sept. 7, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.