Cycle or stroll along the Regent's Canal in northeast London and you'll find a new addition to a mad-hat menagerie of quirky architectural interventions populating the water's edge. The Potemkin Theatre, designed by London-based studio Maich Swift, is the third Antepavilion—a yearly competition run by the Architecture Foundation and Shiva Ltd. The Potemkin Theater sits atop a warehouse and looks north over the canal. At 27 feet tall, its prominent position means it can be seen from far down the canal, rising against the post-industrial landscape like a skinny timber Torre Velasca. However, the timber intervention only truly reveals itself as you get much closer; the slender yellow structure's canal-facing facade comes into view and displays a green checkerboard pattern made from gesso-treated canvas panels. Spanning three stories, the building will serve as a performance space, with the structure itself able to be used as a prop as well as a backdrop and theater gallery for performances. The pavilion's name comes from Grigory Potemkin, a Russian who in 1787 supposedly painted the facades of buildings in a Crimean village to impress Empress Catherine II upon her visit. Maich Swift adopted the same notion, taking interest in the way the internal structure can be hidden behind a lively and colorful frontage. "We thought early on that the structure could be accessed by both an audience and performers," said Ted Swift, who cofounded Maich Swift in 2016, speaking to AN. "We wanted the structure to be something that was as flexible as possible," added fellow co-founder Paul Maich. "Stuff like this is slowly disappearing in Hackney." Maich Swift was founded in 2016, with both architects coming from the London-based practice Caruso St. John. Along with Grigory Potemkin, the pair said they were inspired by Monsieur Hulot's home in Jacques Tati’s 1958 French film, Mon Oncle, drawing on the highly visual circulation space exhibited in the film. Behind the canvassed facade, a stair linking the pavilion's three levels is clearly visible between the laminated veneer lumber structural frame. The theater was assembled in just 25 days for a mere $30,000. "We knew we had to build it ourselves (with the help of volunteers) so it had to be practical," said Swift. Furthermore, the pavilion is designed to eventually be unbolted, though before that happens, a two-month-long program of performances, discussion, and events as been planned throughout August and September. In winning the Antepavilion competition, Maich Swift beat out 187 other entries. "Not only were the jury impressed by Maich Swift's quirky design and eclectic references, but we were particularly drawn to Potemkin's potential to become a new cultural venue," said Chloe Spiby Loh, who chaired the judging panel. "This showed the maturity of their approach, which projected a future for the pavilion beyond the commission." An opening party for the pavilion was attended by 180 people, though the structure has yet to be put through its paces as a performance space. "Hopefully we'll be surprised by the way people use it," said Swift.
Posts tagged with "Art Installations":
I know it rains a lot in London, but you have to wonder if Olafur Eliasson is playing a joke—the Danish-Icelandic artist has installed a "Rain Window" (Regenfenster, 1999) inside the Tate Modern just as summer begins. Eliasson has previous experience when it comes to playing with the weather in England. In 2003, The Weather Project illuminated the Tate's Turbine Hall with a miniature "sun" to create a sunset-like haze in the former power station and attracted some two million visitors. Sixteen years on, Eliasson is back. Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life, the Tate Modern's latest retrospective of the artist, pulls together 38 works dating back to 1990 through to today. While none are as exhilarating as the 2003 show, however, Eliasson is still able to able to tantalize the senses. Fitting that many of Eliasson's works into one exhibition was no mean feat, and not all of them can be found inside. Waterfall, from 2019, is the most impressive, and as its name suggests, water cascades down from a 36-foot-tall scaffold structure. It seems like an informal emphatic start. It's odd then, that In Real Life actually begins inside passed ticketed doors with a glass box of geometric models. The work, Model Room, collates some 450 models, the result of Eliasson's collaboration with Icelandic artist, mathematician, and architect Einar Thorsteinn. They're not bad by any stretch, but this isn't the stellar stuff one expects. Thankfully more, much more, in fact, lies around the corner. Audiences are encouraged to touch—but not grab—a giant wall of Scandinavian moss stretching 65 feet. The work dates back to 1994 and presumably, new moss has been installed. Here we find the aforementioned Regenfenster too, though, if you didn't know it was a work dating back to 1999, it could easily be mistaken for a leaking pipe (Now that you're in the know, keep an ear out for people questioning: "Is it really raining outside?"). In the same room is The Seeing Space, a circular viewing portal nestled into a wall which lets viewers approach and peer into a room of what seems to be nothingness. Walk around though, and it's revealed that The Seeing Space is a ruse, another Eliasson joke, for one's face is focused in on and unflatteringly framed on the other side. As a result, you have to immediately go back and ask someone to film you, to see just how embarrassing it was. It's not going to be good. This is what Eliasson is best at, creating stuff that's fun, and there's more of that to come, as squeals of delight from around the corner forewarn us of. The sound, you find out, is of children running through shimmering heavy mist that has had a spectrum of color projected onto it. The work is called Beauty, with good reason, and is for anyone daring enough to let go of their apprehensions and enjoy themselves at the cost of getting mildly damp. More interactive art follows. Your Blind Passenger, the exhibition's pièce de résistance (if fellow visitors' Instagrams are to tell us anything), is a 130-foot-long journey through dense fog. It's certainly visceral—you can only see five feet ahead—and along the corridor, the fog's color gently changes from white to yellow and finally blue. While other exhibits are best enjoyed with a partner, it's best to experience the passage alone to get the full feeling of discombobulation. In Eliasson's native tongue the work is called Din Blinde Passager, the Danish term for a stowaway, for who captivity in the artist's work is pretty sweet, literally so; the fog vapour is sugar-based. Your Blind Passenger is from 2010, the same year Eliasson produced Your Uncertain Shadow (Color). More fun for the young and young at heart is on display here: dance in front of an array of colored lights to see your silhouette, duplicated and overlapped in pastel hues. Unlike Your Blind Passenger, this piece seems to scream the more the merrier. Aside from that, the rest of the works follow the tone set by Model Room. Mirrors have been cleverly used in a few, such as Your Planetary Window—another portal in a wall, which you can see yourself in. Big Bang Fountain is also noteworthy; the 2014 work is set in a black room and harder to navigate than Your Blind Passenger, and uses flashes of light to illuminate bursts from a small water fountain. Don't bother trying to take a picture on your phone, and don't dare use a flash. In Real Life doesn't dazzle with every turn, but for the moments of genuine playfulness and engagement, the show is well worth it. Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life runs through January 5, 2020.
Plastic drinking straws take up to 200 years to decompose, and with 500 million thrown away each day in the U.S. alone, they are a huge part of the growing plastic waste crisis that is fatal to fish. This is the impetus behind the installation Killer Net by the 16-year-old artist and designer Adriano Souras, who found 9,000 straws and fashioned them into a plastic fisherman’s net. Fishermen’s nets should be used to catch fish but due to ocean pollution, they increasingly collect old plastic. Souras’s art represents the idea that the ocean and plastic have become synonymous. “The Killer Net is visually pleasing and disturbing at the same time, as its complexity, vibrancy, and harmony appeal to the viewer, in the same way plastic has, to the consumers, for so long. On the other hand, it is a terrifying reminder of our future, if we continue to disregard the evidence and impact plastic already has on our environment, we will destroy our oceans and our sea life. The net is adjustable and takes on different shapes, indicating the constant spread, sometimes subtle and sometimes aggressive, that pollution causes. This is disguised behind the appealing colors of the straws,” said the artist. Killer Net Through July 9, 2019 Blackbox Gallery, Some Office 1551 West Homer Street, Chicago, IL 60642 By appointment only.
Surrounds: 11 Installations, an exhibition opening at the Museum of Modern Art this fall, will feature a series of immense, whole-gallery installations, each on view in the museum for the first time. The installations, which MoMA collected over the last two decades, represent watershed moments in the careers of 13 living artists: Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, Sadie Benning, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Sou Fujimoto, Sheila Hicks, Arthur Jafa, Mark Manders, Rivane Neuenschwander, Dayanita Singh, Hito Steyerl, and Sarah Sze. Among the most memorable works are The Killing Machine, a haunting scene of automated parts, electronic sound effects and flickering screens, and Fault Lines, a mesmerizing live performance by two plainclothes choir boys amid cleaved stone masses. Each installation will be displayed in its own gallery on the sixth floor of the museum, where it can be appreciated as an individual, immersive environment, or as part of a larger exploration of how physical space shapes our experiences. Although they were “conceived out of different individual circumstances,” explained the show’s press release, “the installations are united in their ambition and scope, marking decisive shifts in the careers of their makers and the broader field of contemporary art.” Surrounds: 11 Installations will be on view October 21 through Spring 2020 in the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Center at the Museum for Modern Art. More information on the show is available here.
Filipino artist and designer Leeroy New has created a fluorescent installation in Pintô International's new gallery space in New York City's East Village. After a two-week residency in February 2019, New created the sculptures along with multi-colored costumes that performers have donned while traipsing around Lower Manhattan. Aliens of Manila: New York Colony has a sort of psychedelic, fungal look, as though prosaic objects had somehow mutated into funky new lifeforms. Both the sculptures and the costumes are made of cheap plastic home goods and fabrication supplies like zip ties and fiberglass strips. The photos of performers on the street are part of the artist's broader Aliens of Manila project that "speaks to the wider experience of cultural displacement but is profoundly informed by the artist’s own familial experience with the phenomenon of what he refers to as 'OFW'—Overseas Filipino Workers." The photos show people in the costumes popping against the backdrop of day-to-day activity in New York City. Pintô International is the new space from the Phillippines-based Pintô Art Museum, a museum that collects and exhibits the work of many prominent local artists. Aliens of Manila: New York Colony marks the launch of a quarterly exhibition schedule, an artist residency, and a monthly Pintô Sessions event series. Aliens of Manila: New York Colony Pintô International 431 East 12th Street, New York, New York Through May 27, 2019
Miami’s Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA Miami), in collaboration with Miami Design District, will unveil a towering art installation by Yona Friedman, Hungarian-born French architect, designer, sculptor, and urban planner, whose innovative works represent humans’ complex relationship with the environment. The public sculpture, titled Space-Chain Phantasy-Miami 2019, features intertwined, geometric cubes composed of metal wire. The lightweight installation reflects Friedman’s perception that architecture should be flexible and capable of adjusting to the needs of its users and inhabitants. This concept originates from his personal history as an emigrant and nomadic refugee who often depended on temporary shelters to survive. While major urban centers can be dense, harsh, and chaotic, Friedman believes that temporary, ephemeral architecture can help democratize a city and empower its inhabitants, promoting a city that evolves with its people. Friedman's work, including temporary structures similar to Space-Chain Phantasy-Miami 2019, has been featured in collections of the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, among many other locations. The sculpture will be unveiled on February 22 at Paradise Plaza in the Miami Design District. ICA Miami is free and open to the public all year.
As temperatures continue to plummet in New York, it may not be a total surprise that a giant iceberg has found its way onto the city's streets. Last week, the Garment District Alliance bared its latest interactive art installation, Iceberg, which can be found at the Broadway pedestrian plazas between 37th and 38th Streets. The installation, composed of jagged metallic arches that illuminate and make noises evocative of melting ice as visitors walk through them, was created by ATOMIC3 and Appareil Architecture in collaboration with Jean-Sébastien Côté and Philippe Jean. The work was inspired by actual icebergs and is intended to chronicle the life cycle of a floe, from when it first breaks off the edge of a glacier to when it ultimately melts due to climate change. Part of the motive behind creating the installation was to acknowledge the significance of climate change and global warming, and how they will continue to worsen if people don't make more environmentally-conscious changes to their lifestyles. “This is an astonishing installation that transforms Broadway into a gleaming, interactive experience for pedestrians, while reinforcing an important environmental message,” said Garment District Alliance president Barbara Blair in a statement. Despite the serious message that the piece tries to convey, it appears to be a fun addition to the streetscape, where visitors can playfully interact with the structure, as well as pose for a photo-op. Aside from the arches flashing different colors and emitting loud “drip” noises as people pass under them, the arches make thunderous crashing sounds every so often to indicate an iceberg calving. The energetic spectacle draws in large crowds to the already bustling Garment District, just a few blocks south of Times Square. This isn’t the first time the sculpture has been unveiled to the public; it made its first debut at the 2012 Luminothérapie festival in Montreal. The installation is part of the year-round public art program, “Garment District on the Plazas,” and it will be on view through February 24.
This past month, architect-turned-artist Phillip K. Smith III revived the 100-foot-long walkway that links two of Detroit’s most celebrated skyscrapers with a dynamic light installation. Wedged between the Guardian Building and One Woodward Avenue, the suspended passageway was built in the 1970s to allow employees of the American Natural Resources Company and Michigan Consolidated Gas Company to pass freely between the two office buildings without interference from inner-city traffic and congestion. When one of the companies relocated in the 1990s, however, the bulky walkway was abandoned. Fortunately, the sky bridge has now been revitalized with a permanent installation by the California designer known for his extravagant, light-based, and Coachella-esque works of art. Phillip K. Smith III has completely transformed the neglected passageway into a vibrant, floating bar of light that electrifies the streets of downtown Detroit. “Detroit Skybridge is another example of how underutilized spaces can be reimagined for the benefit of the public,” said the owner of Library Street Collective, the art organization that conceptualized the project. “Phillip’s use of light and color, along with his understanding of architecture and scale, makes this a compelling project for the city.” Smith drew inspiration from the geometric white concrete of Minoru Yamasaki’s 1962 One Woodward building and the variegated interior of the 1929 Guardian Building. His design, which is composed of shifting tones and moving planes of light, has added a pop of color and a renewed interest to the historic city’s constantly evolving skyline. “By day, the Skybridge will continue to be seen as its historic self within the architecture and massing of Downtown. But by night, it will become a beacon for the beauty, creativity, and innovation of Detroit,” said Smith. “I am interested in creating experiences that tap into ‘universal beauty’—experiences that make us step away from our pattern, our life, our work, our errands, and allow us to see sublime beauty shifting and changing before our eyes.”
On October 10, the doors of Detroit’s long-abandoned State Savings Bank will open to the public and reveal a space radically different from the building's original interior. Among the building’s elegant columns, historic bank vault, and vast interior space sits Doug Aitken’s latest art installation, a mystifying sculpture in the form of a one-story American suburban house, equipped with a maze of mirror-clad rooms and hallways that will leave visitors both disoriented and perplexed. The sprawling design, known as Mirage Detroit, diffracts and reflects every aspect of its surroundings, including the historic architecture of the antiquated building in which it resides. The resulting contrast is intense: the bank, with its bold sculptural supports, decorative enrichments, elaborate cornice, and over-scaled features, is juxtaposed with Aitken’s angular, mirrored sculpture and the room’s marble floor, which has been completely obscured by raw earth and river rocks. The merging of these elements conjures images of “a constantly shifting landscape that incorporates the organic and inorganic, reflects the past, and questions the future,” according to a statement from the artist's studio. Mirage Detroit will mark one of the first times that the public has had open access to the State Savings Bank, which was built in 1900 and has been vacant for decades. The bank, which is impressive by virtue of its sheer size, classical décor, and adaptation to the urban American landscape, represents the history of Detroit while looking towards its future. It was saved from demolition after it was purchased by Bedrock in late 2014. “In many ways, Mirage will become its surroundings,” says Anthony Curis, owner of Detroit-based art gallery Library Street Collective. “It will reflect and intensify one of the city’s greatest historical and cultural contributions—its grand architecture.” Over the course of the exhibition period, Mirage Detroit will host an array of cultural events ranging from educational programs, musical performances, and community programs funded by organizations like Cranbrook Academy of Art, Art Museum, Museum of Modern Art Detroit (MOCAD), and College for Creative Studies.
"How might we determine the facts and values that motivate the production of architecture in a post-truth era?" That was the question that entrants were asked to respond to for this year's Prize for Young Architects + Designers from The Architectural League of New York. The winners presented an array of proposals across a variety of media that obliquely took on the theme. The 2018 competition, titled Objective, was won by Anya Sirota of Akoaki, Bryony Roberts of Bryony Roberts Studio, Gabriel Cuéllar and Athar Mufreh of Cadaster, Coryn Kempster of Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster, Alison Von Glinow and Lap Chi Kwong of Kwong Von Glinow, and Dan Spiegel of SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop. The Prize is an annual award established in 1981 to celebrate young, successful practices from across the United States, and the exhibition of winners is now on view at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at the Parsons School of Design, running through August 4. Visitors to the Design Center are first confronted by Lap Chi Kwong and Alison Von Glinow’s plywood model titled Table Top Apartments. It runs the length of the storefront and consists of circular, square, and rectangular geometries stacked on top of one another via thin columns. The Chicago-based architecture practice was founded one year ago and is already reaching great heights; they recently won first prize in the New York Housing Challenge 2017 and the Hong Kong Pixel Home Challenge. Their installation is a study model of their New York housing proposal, which makes use of modules “based on the form of stacking table tops to generate towers with setbacks and cascading balconies.” Visitors to the exhibition are immediately drawn to the graphic vinyl pattern that runs down the west wall of the gallery onto the floor. Geometric cutouts of marble and stone textures are collaged together by Bryony Roberts. Her exploration with patterns is said to be inspired by her experience as a Rome Prize Fellow, her previous works at The American Academy in Rome, and an exhibition at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in collaboration with Mabel O. Wilson. Roberts toggles between practice and teaching as a professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and an architect who combines architecture and performance. Anya Sirota's installation cuts an eye-catching figure in the middle of the show. The unconventional models are composed of silhouettes of architectural objects overlaid on wilderness backdrops. Sirota, founded by Akoaki with Jean Louis Farges, frequently designs temporary art installations that respond to public programs, including a geometric artwork in Detroit that sets the stage for an open-air opera. Next, to the models, a rack of colorful postcards exhibits the work of Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster. Their work uses color in imaginative ways, with a neon-pink swing set named Full Circle originally installed in Buffalo, and the Sky House in Ontario, which features interiors painted in different shades of blue, complementing the green tones of the idyllic Stoney Lake scenery. Visitors are free to take postcards from the exhibition. Nine models of the same dimensions by Dan Spiegel are mounted on the wall. With inset lighting effects, the relief models lead the audience through tiny spaces. Spiegel’s firm, SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop, with Megumi Aihara have recently completed Try-On Truck, a mobile store that opens up with transformable wood and glass panels. Gabriel Cuéllar and Athar Mufreh’s four research studios titled the architecture of territories are “parcels, rights-of-way, watersheds, and urban ecologies.” Their firm Cadaster is concerned with the environment and landscape, with projects on the New York Canal System, Quebec urban planning, and the American Black Churches in the South. Their works are nuanced reflections on cities and territories.
Los Angeles- and New York City-based FreelandBuck has come together with MINI LIVING to create a visually complex temporary installation for the Los Angeles Design Festival. The eye-catching pavilion was on display over the weekend at the showcase’s headquarters at The Row arts complex in Downtown Los Angeles. For the installation, FreelandBuck hijacked a pair of compact living modules previously designed by the MINI LIVING team in order to create an inhabitable public space for use during the festivities. The new “experience” space is sandwiched between the spare “urban cabin” accommodations and was designed by FreelandBuck in order to “extend the perceptual boundaries and the contemplative life of a living space through spatial effects and experimental material assemblies,” according to a press release for the project. In plan, FreelandBuck’s designs are contained within a pair of redundant aluminum stud-framed spaces where one of the two boxes has been rotated in space in order to project beyond the extents of the otherwise rectangular cabin. The second cube is rotated in the opposite direction and created an angled exit within the main volume. The doubled walls mark the entries to the cabin on the outside and frame a doorway within, leaving odd, oblique wedges of space at the meeting points of the two rotated volumes. The two nested boxes are skinned in translucent polycarbonate panels that have been printed with images depicting a third framed volume that is drawn to appear as if it has been projected through the structure. The graphic produces a disorienting, layered effect through the spaces, with different views of the red and blue cube projected across the interlocking areas. The space is flanked on either side by the MINI LIVING-designed components, which include a living space framed by pivoting pegboard-and mesh-wrapped wall panels and a bedroom area that features a skylight above the sleeping area. The installation represents the eighth iteration of the pavilion by MINI LIVING and the first scheme that is designed to hold overnight guests. For more information, see the MINI LIVING website.
The Coachella Arts and Music Festival kicks off this weekend outside Los Angeles, bringing with it a wide-ranging program of colorful, sculptural artworks by a handful of local and international artists. Years past have brought dynamic artworks by designers like Bureau Spectacular, among others. This year's presenters include R&R Studios, a Miami-based duo made up of Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquart. The visual art-, architecture-, and design-focused creatives have brought their star-shaped sculpture, Supernova. This is the duo’s second year exhibiting at Coachella, following the 2016 show. Entertainment design studio NEWSUBSTANCE is making their Coachella debut with Spectra, a seven-story-tall sloped ramp structure clad in transparent orange and yellow panels. Artist Randy Polumbo will bring Lodestar, 35-foot triangular"saucer" made from a repurposed Lockheed Martin Lodestar jet that sits on a trio of 10,000-pound legs. Italian artist Edoardo Tresoldi will grace the High Desert with his Etherea sculpture, a massive mesh-based work that evokes Baroque architecture. El Salvadorian artist Simón Vega is presenting his Palm-3 World Station at the festival, a spherical sculptural work made up of repurposed components. American artist Katie Stout will debut Display This Oasis, an augmented reality-based sculpture "that's grounded in reality" and focuses on processing everyday objects through a special web-based app. Los Angeles-based artist Adam Ferriss brings his Meta & Ditto augmented reality installation to the music festival, another app-based installation that utilizes "manipulated source images, computer code, and algorithms to psychedelic effect." Photographs are not yet available for the two augmented reality-based installations. We will be updating this post throughput the weekend with more images.