Forecast by University of the Arts London

Forecast is a nostalgic window that uses light and mist to experientially recreate past weather conditions for a future civilisation forced underground by climate change.

Inspired by the rising need to shelter in subterranean and air-conditioned architecture in tropical Singapore — where temperatures are rising at twice the global average — it imagines how a devastated society might cope with a bleak outlook by looking back at better times.

Designed as an installation from 2073, users can access real historical weather reports across 5 climate-vulnerable countries through a panel below the looking-glass.

Each panel button — associated with a different city — triggers an audio interface describing the conditions of a day 100 years before this future society’s time on June 13th, 1973. The clips paint a picture of how society has transformed during cities’ struggles with the consequences of run-away climate change. As each report continues, LED strips behind the acrylic window play one of three animations: a sunny, cloudy, or stormy day. Ultrasonic mist atomisers hidden within the body of the structure also come alive, serving either to obscure the window with fog or to bathe the user in a humid shower from above.

The control panel also functions as an atlas that simultaneously visualises past and future conditions on Earth; Direct engraving on the wood represents shorelines from 1973 and is overlaid by pieces of transparent acrylic that trace both the predicted encroaching of the oceans and potential belt of life-threatening heat over the equator. Names of major cities today that could one day be abandoned, ominously dot this same map.

Forecast purposefully straddles the line between optimistic and pessimistic visions of the future. As some level of consequential climate change progressively becomes our inevitable reality, people of the future must somehow make the best of the world we leave them.

Yet, it also emphasises the time we have left; perched within the limbo between 2073 and 1973 with 50 years to go, today remains the best time we have to shape our destiny for the better.