Phantom Falls - CODAworx

Phantom Falls

Submitted by Michael Mandelc

Client: Blue Mountains Cultural Centre

Location: Katoomba, Australia

Completion date: 2013

Project Team


The Director

Blue Mountains Cultural Centre


Michael Mandelc


The design brief required that the suspended work address a broad range of criteria. Specifications included a total weight of no more than 100kg along with the added function of sound attenuation. It was of vital importance to address the physical and spiritual history of the region within the design as the Cultural Centre is nestled within an ancient aboriginal presence and a world heritage national park. Square footage 224' approx.


The chief aim in regard to integration was that the final work simply transmit the natural quality of simply having always been there. Beyond this it is intended that the work invite the sky, reference a primordial sea and echo the local natural phenomena of the mists of Phantom Falls thereby completing the space as a mesmeric ethereal body charged with both security and invigoration. With the site acting as both podium space and central lounge it was essential that the design respond effortlessly both in scale and form within the vaulted ceiling space.


The most fundamental collaboration was between myself and the manner in which the public zone was to be utilized. Most critical were the many exchanges with aerospace engineers and other experts regarding the new application of this energy absorbent material. Critical dialogue naturally unfolded between myself and the director of the Centre. Part of this outworking was the utilization of local airflow ducts with the result being that the suspended stabile gently oscillates.

Additional Information

It has been my goal through out this project to capture and release light, sound & space.The organic rhythms embedded in the surface & structure of the material being reflected in the overall work constitute an enduring reference to the natural world. My hope is that these qualities being quietly in operation go on to engender a pause sufficient to extend ones self beyond the interior & into the continually reforming landscape.