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MAD Architects create island-like installation for Audi at Milan Design Week 2018


The acclaimed design office MAD Architects led by Chinese architect Ma Yansong has created a fascinating temporary installation for German automobile maker Audi at Milan Design Week 2018. 

Entitled “Fifth Ring“, the installation consists of five “islands” set amid a large artificial water pool located in the courtyard of the Seminario Arcivescovile in Corso Venezia, an imposing 16th-century Catholic seminary in Central Milan, a few-minute walk from Piazza San Babila and Via Monte Napoleone.

The large island at the center is topped by a circular lighting ring, made by Artemide, and is surrounded by artificial clouds and mist created by a number of nozzles concealed under the water surface of the pool.
The other four smaller islands, three rectangular and one elliptical, are connected to the central island by four boardwalks whose plan configuration evokes that of traditional Italian cloister gardens. On such four small islands, Audi presents four automobile models, including the impressive Aicon self-driving concept car.

Additionally, under the courtyard’s portico, the German company presents a number of micro-exhibitions focused on its products’ design, materials, and innovative technologies.

While during the day the interplay is mainly between the installation, the historical architecture of the porticoed courtyard surrounding it, the automobiles on exhibition, and the mirroring surface of the water, at night the central ring emits a colored light which illuminates, and is diffused by, the artificial mist thus creating an intriguing, dreamy visual effect.
An ethereal soundscape further reinforces the dreamlike effect the visitor experiences while walking across the courtyard space and MAD’s installation. The mist also provides a refreshing and cooling effect, quite appreciable in Milan’s unusually hot spring 2018.

“Fifth Ring”
Seminario Arcivescovile – Corso Venezia, 11, 20121 Milan, Italy
April 16th – 28th, 2018

Design Team:Ma Yansong, Dang Qun, Yosuke Hayano, Marco Gastoldi, Andrea D’Antrassi, Casey Kell, Connor Hymes
Engineering: Maco Technology
Lighting Design: Artemide


Audi fifth ring installation MAD architects Milan Design Week 20


The Fifth Ring installation designed by MAD architects for Audi, Milan Design Week 2018; photos © Inexhibit

Audi fifth ring installation MAD architects Milan Design Week 2018 aerial

Aerial view of the installation in the seminary courtyard © Moreno Maggi

Audi fifth ring installation MAD architects Milan Design Week 2018

View at night; photo ©  MAD Architects


Audi fifth ring installation MAD architects Milan Design Week 20

Audi fifth ring installation MAD architects Milan Design Week 2018 Inexhibit 04L

General views of the “Fifth Ring” installation by MAD Architects for Audi; photos © Inexhibit



The Audi Aicon self-driving concept car, and some of the exhibits on view under the portico; photos © Inexhibit


Photo © Inexhibit
Cover image: The “Fifth Ring” installation by MAD Architects in Milan, foreground: the Audi Aicon concept car; photo © Inexhibit

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