What does it mean to build a museum that lasts for only a week? That’s the challenge faced by the architects and designers who create the structures that house the world’s ever-expanding ecosystem of art fairs—pop-up culture and commerce destinations that bring together hundreds of international galleries and thousands of moneyed collectors from around the globe for little more than a weekend at a time. One of the most prestigious of these shows is Frieze, an offshoot of the London magazine that now boasts fairs in London, New York, and, soon, Los Angeles. And each iteration is no small feat—with more than 40,000 visitors expected over the course of its run, Frieze New York, which is open to the public from May 4 through May 6, attracts more visitors in a weekend than some regional museums do in an entire year. “Normally, you build a building, you open it and that’s it,” says Richard McConkey, associate director at Universal Design Studio—the interiors-minded London architecture firm founded by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby. UDS designed this year’s tent on Randall’s Island and has collaborated with Frieze on its flagship London fair since 2014. In their first design for the New York fair, UDS took lessons from four editions of Frieze London to drastically rethink the exhibition space. And while the massive white tent may look familiar from the outside, the feeling inside is completely different—more like walking through a series of galleries than a wide-open convention center—and that’s precisely the point. Unlike permanent architecture, McConkey says, the design process of these temporary structures is endless, as each year’s iteration yields new learning to be applied to the following fair. It also provides the added pressure of having some the world’s most important contemporary art galleries under one roof, meaning the structure needs to function just as well as a permanent building would for the course of its run——”as much as you can in a tent,” jokes McConkey—even though it goes from “green to built” in just five or six weeks. In the five years that the fair has taken place on New York’s Randall’s Island, the tent that houses the exhibition had expanded to break two Guinness World Records, one for the largest single-unit marquee and the other for the biggest temporary stage in the world. But for this year’s edition of the New York fair, the team at UDS took a more subtle approach to the space with a brief to eschew the continuous, snaking structure of past fairs for something that felt more intimate, despite spanning some 300,000 square feet. They devised the plan by thinking from the inside out, creating a series of connected buildings that flow one into the next, with blue-chip galleries anchoring the crossroads. Within the space, many of the details are left to the galleries, who choose from a menu of options on everything from wall color to lighting to flooring (the most common area where galleries upgrade, where a specific surface might be needed to accommodate things like sculpture). “The fair is just here as an infrastructure for the galleries,” McConkey explains, coyly underplaying the importance of the structure that makes it all possible. “Our job as architects is to get people here, get the flow going, and get out of the way.” But, that means everything needs to work, down to considerations like the orientation of windows and outdoor spaces, to make sure no direct sunlight ever hits the work on display within the light-filled space. In addition to interior concerns, UDS moved the pavilion closer to the river and reoriented the entrances to enhance natural light and connection to the context of the island—all while understanding that come the end of the fair, no trace could be left behind, not even damage to a tree. Further reducing the structure’s impact on the environment is the fact that it is largely comprised of rented modular units, “a kit of parts, like Lego,” McConkey says. In fact, custom components account for less than ten percent of the structure—mainly the large-scale clerestory windows—a move that does more than cut back on budget, it also means the most pieces, down to the walls that separate the galleries, will be put in storage after disassembly and used again for similar structures by UDS and other firms. And then it’s right back to the drawing board. As for the next Frieze iteration, says McConkey, it “starts as soon as this thing ends.”
Posts tagged with "Frieze Art Fair":
The Frieze New York art fair (May 5-8), currently ensconced in its large SO-IL designed tent on Randall's Island, always has a few works on display of special interest for architects and designers. This years fair is not brimming over with such works—but still there are a few. And this year, for me, they were all on wheels. William Kentridge's rolling wooden and metal accordion machine labeled TBC turned Marian Goodman’s booth into a dynamic space covered with the South African drawing and textual works. It was also a great—yet still somewhat sad—to see Krzysztof Wodiczko’s 1988-89 Homeless Vehicle Project. A major work by the artists in New York, I first saw it employed at Union Square where there were encampments of some of the estimated 70,000 homeless people in the city that winter. It’s sad to think we still have this enormous problem the city and this rolling homeless shelter is a reminder of all those people that push their homes shopping carts on the streets. Their was also Erwin Wurm’s 2016 corpulent white polyester and acrylic VW micro bus often seen at art fairs. But it's always an effective comment about the body of both humans and cars. The highlight of the Frieze art fair wheeled works was a special Frieze project: a remake of Mario Bellini’s Kar-a-sutra created for The Museum of Modern Art's 1972 New Domestic Landscape show curated by Emilio Ambasz. It's green 1960s fantasy of a car as a house for a Mediterranean seaside. Re-creator Anthea Hamilton also creates “an inhabitable mobile space meant to foster human creativity, imagination and communication.” It was all so sexy and easy in the 1960s!
London’s Frieze Art Fair opens a second pavilion by Universal Design Studio after successful 2014 show
The Frieze Art Fair looks to capitalize on the 55,000 people who thronged a pavilion by Universal Design Studio (UDS) last year by commissioning another. The five-day festival is held in Regent’s Park, London every October. Starting in 2003, Frieze London has quickly grown to become one of the world’s foremost art fairs. A New York outpost began in 2012, held each May on Randall’s Island, Manhattan. For the 2015 pavilion, UDS has used the main construction components of Frieze—membrane, steel, board, and aluminum—to create an appropriate temporary structure. New to the fair this year is a Reading Room which offers a diverse selection of art publications and hosts live events. To entice people into the space, Frieze has collaborated with Petersham Nurseries Restaurant for a pop-up cafe and bar on the mezzanine level overlooking the fair. Aside from the gallery spaces, the design team has sought to give these areas purpose and identity, bringing the park into the surrounding vicinity. This was achieved with the help of careful planting by Hattie Fox of Shoreditch-based That Flower Shop. Clever uses of visual framing emphasize views and encourage people walking through the fair to enter various spaces. “We were keen to find ways of bringing the park into the Fair," Jason Holley, a director at UDS, said in a statement. "We achieved this by creating an entrance experience which is in dialogue with the tree canopy, framing and drawing attention to the transition between the Park and Frieze, and through the creation of windows within the restaurant areas that offer glimpses into the park. We are also incorporating planters throughout the Fair which are carefully curated arrangements of plants that directly reference the type of planting found in the park.” “Much of our focus in this respect has been on creating a logical flow around the Fair, with widened aisles, connections and turning points – punctuating the journey with the formation of pause points – moments of change," Hanna Carter-Owers, director at UDS, said in a statement. "The galleries are doing a huge volume of business at the Fair and there needs to be consideration to how people and galleries work within the space.”
AN is participating in some great events during the upcoming NYCxDesign—the city's annual celebration of all things design. If you live in New York, or are in town from May 8–19, here are some key happenings to keep on your radar. In addition, at all these events and shows you'll get the chance to pick up a copy of AN's first special residential interiors issue, which is packed with information on other design happenings around town, highlights from the local art scene, stories on the latest trends in the field, and pages and pages of gorgeous homes. Hope to see you around town! BKLYN Designs Come see the upstarts in Brooklyn and visit the AN/AIANY New Practices Lounge. AN's Editor-in-Chief William Menking is conducting a panel with the new faces of Brooklyn architecture. Sunday, May 10th, 3pm-4pm Brooklyn Expo Center 72 Noble St, Brooklyn Frieze Art Fair Make your way to Randall's Island for one of the world's top contemporary art festivals. May 14-17 Randall's Island Park Duravit + The Architect's Newspaper Join AN at one of New York's best bathroom showrooms for a special event celebrating new collections from Philippe Starck and Christian Werner. Friday, May 15, 6-8pm Duravit NYC 105 Madison Avenue RSVP Here designjunction edit New York Check out an excellently curated display of interior design elements from leading global brands. May 15-18 ArtBeam 540 W 21st Street WantedDesign Visit Wanted's original platform for promoting design and see AN's Editor-in-Chief William Menking is moderating "Bright Architecture," a conversation on lighting, innovation, & architecture. May 16, 5:45-6:45pm. Terminal Stores 269 11th Avenue ICFF Now on its 27th year, this is the United States' biggest contemporary design showcase. Come say hi to AN staffers at booth #1870. May 16-19 Javits Center 655 West 34th Street
We might be in the thick of winter, but planning is already underway for the third annual NYCxDESIGN coming up in the Spring. On Thursday morning, organizers—NYC & Company and the NYC Economic Development Corporation—invited members of the design community, fittingly, to the newly opened and revamped Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum to kick off the week-long, citywide design festivities taking place May 8–19. The program offers a platform to more than 40,000 designers and 3,900 design firms practicing in the city to showcase their work. Over the course of 12 days, a variety of exhibitions, installations, panel discussions, and open studios will be held in venues throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. Six returning events anchor the program, including: BKLYN DESIGNS (May 8–10), WantedDesign Brooklyn (May 1–19), Collective Design (May 13–17), Frieze Art Fair (May 14–17), WantedDesign Manhattan (May 15–18), and ICFF (May 16–19). The opening night of BKLYN Designs will be the official launch of NYCxDESIGN. If last year's impressive turnout of 2,000-plus listings at 181 venues is telling, then May 2015 will be a busy one for those in the design sector.
Frieze Art Fair's first New York event will be housed in a distinctive serpentine structure designed by Brooklyn-based Solid Objectives—Idenburg Liu (SO-IL) architects. Continuing the tradition of creating bespoke temporary spaces for its London fairs, Frieze will construct a massive tent on the shore of Randall’s Island (don’t worry—ferries will run every 15 minutes). The long, white vinyl tent, divided into six sections, will curve along the riverfront with the addition of glass-walled wedges at each hinge. These junctures also provide seating and passage to the outdoor spaces, where visitors can patronize food carts being brought in for the event. The glass walls provide views of the East River, and the tent skin will let in diffuse sunlight.