Big Ideas: A2Arquitectos's Supersize Kaleidoscope at Hotel Castell dels Hams

text Photography by Laura Torres Roa.



The kaleidoscope was invented two centuries ago and has mesmerized the children peering into its psychedelic depths ever since. Now children are a living component of a supersize kaleidoscope. It’s permanently installed at the Hotel Castell dels Hams in Porto Cristo, a resort town on the Spanish island of Majorca.


text Photography by Laura Torres Roa.



A2Arquitectos p artners Juan Manzanares Suárez and Cristian Santandreu Utermark, who also built the award-winning spa at the hotel, came back to design the kaleidoscope. It occupies a freestanding pavilion that previously housed a squash court: The hexagonal tube extends almost 30 feet to emerge from opposite walls, with access via 8-foot-tall external stairs.


text Photography by Laura Torres Roa.



The plasterboard tube is bolted to a steel frame, inside the pavilion, lined with a mirrored surface comprising 140 acrylic panels, and lit after sunset by LEDs. Instead of colorful glass beads tumbling about, kids are what produce the intricate patterns by moving through—the tube’s 8-foot diameter provides plenty of headroom for skipping and jumping.


Adults can walk through as well. Or they can watch the goings-on from below, via another 19th-century invention, the periscope.


text Photography by Laura Torres Roa.

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