Published on November 12, 2012 | by Carleanne O'Donoghue


Control the weather with the International rain room

People surrounded by the rain

Hear and feel the rain without getting wet at the Barbican [Betoul Mahdey]

Rating: ★★★★

This installation demonstrates what it is like to control the weather. The idea is that you put your trust in the rain in the hope that it will stop as you walk underneath it (the kind of risk that Londoners take everyday when its pouring down, to run or not to run?). The Rain Room allows visitors to slow down and enjoy the storm.

Walking into the pitch black room all visitors hear is the sound of a monsoon, unsure of whether the noise is being played in or real you continue on into the Rain Room. The installation can only be described as a cascade of monsoon style rain falling from the ceiling, lit by one single light that shows you your way out.

The way the room is lit gives the Rain Room a very dramatic feel. Overall the whole thing is very sensually pleasing. The rain stops as you walk underneath it but continues around you so that visitors can enjoy the better parts of a rainstorm- such as the sound and the smell.

If you look up and down at the rain you can watch it fall all the way to the floor and the way that the lighting catches the dancing droplets is beautiful- I find herself standing in the middle of the rain thinking “now THIS is the kind of rain you only see in movies”.

What’s even more beautiful about the installation is that only a very small number of people are allowed in at a time which means that it can be enjoyed properly. Noise is kept to a bare minimum and visitors are left to enjoy the sounds of a tropical rainstorm cascading around them.

Overall I’d urge people to visit the Rain Room despite the long queues. The only other thing I found quite disappointing was that there wasn’t very much information on hand, for example, on the way in there could have been something to read on the wall giving visitors some background on the installation.

I was also a little disappointed by the fact that it was in a very small space, maybe the Turbine Hall at the Tate would have been a better venue so that it could be enjoyed at a variety of angles.

The International Rain Room at The Barbican Centre is open until March 3 2013 and is open daily from 11am-8pm and 10pm on Thursdays.

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