The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival kicked off today in the high desert outside of Los Angeles. This year’s artist installations include a who's who of contemporary architects and designers bringing bright and bold installations and pavilions to the Coachella Valley’s Empire Polo Club, where the music festival takes place. The 2019 artist lineup includes Francis Kéré, Los Angeles-based Office Kovacs, concert venue designers Do LaB, and more. See below for a full run-down of the installations. AN will continue to update the post with additional photos as they become available over the weekend. Sofia Enriquez Sofia Enriquez has designed a super-scaled garden made up of six larger-than-life paisley sculptures that includes a stepped relaxation platform. Francis Kéré Francis Kéré has crafted 12 colorful towers that reference the baobab trees that grow in the region of Burkina Faso where Kéré is from. Rising up to 60 feet in height, the colorful, conical shapes are filled with light displays and provide much-needed shade for concert goers. Poetic Kinetics For the 2019 run of the music festival, Poetic Kinetics has brought back its 2014 floating astronaut sculpture, Overview Effect. The battered spacesuit stands 70 feet tall and emits patterned light shows. Office Kovacs Office Kovacs’s Colossal Cacti consists of seven fluorescent cacti that range from 52 feet to 20 feet in height. The cacti are wrapped in mirrored spines that reflect sunlight and sit on a platform designed to reference the colors of Frank Stella’s Multicolored Squares. Debo Vabo Dedo Vabo’s Hazardous Interstellar Professional Operations is made up of a 72-foot-diameter base loaded with six performance spaces that highlight the trials and tribulations of a group of space-bound hippos.
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In May 2019, Southern California’s “community in residence” design-build festival, Space Saloon, is returning to the desert highlands for its second incarnation. Titled Fieldworks, the elbow grease-fueled festival will take its inspiration from “cumulative methods of scientific field research—the approaches, techniques, and processes used to collect raw data outside of a laboratory setting” by staging a series of desert constructions that focus on imbuing quantified data with cultural meaning. The eight-day workshop is open to anyone age 18 or older and will cost between $1350 and $1500 to attend; the program price includes room and board, three meals a day, and all of the necessary construction materials. As with the previous iteration of the festival, organizers hope to draw an interdisciplinary group of students that will complement the diverse set of practitioners leading the project. Project leaders for this year include architects Andrew Kovacs (Office Kovacs), Zeina Koreitem and John May (MILLIØNS), Kyle May (KMA), as well as workshop leaders Alex Braidwood (Listening Instruments), Noémie Despland-Lichtert and Brendan Sullivan Shea (Roundhouse Platform), Lena Pozdnyakova and Eldar Tagi (the2vvo), among others. According to a press release, program participants will work to undermine the “constructs and apparatuses through which we perceive a place,” investigations that could include questioning how knowledge is produced, manipulating one’s perception of the desert landscape, and creating “new methods for presenting subjective realities.” The workshop joins an ever-increasing number of arts- and architecture-related events taking place across the desert regions surrounding Los Angeles, including the Desert X art biennial, the High Desert Test Sites program, and the Coachella Arts and Music festival. For a collection of last year’s projects, see the Space Saloon website. Applications for the program will be accepted through April with the workshops taking place in California’s Morongo Valley between May 25 and June 1, 2019.
Francis Kéré, Office Kovacs, NEWSUBSTANCE, and other artists, architects, and designers have been chosen to bring creative and immersive installations to the Coachella Arts and Music Festival later this year. In years past, the festival has hosted an eclectic cohort of rising and established designers and artists, including Los Angeles–based Bureau Spectacular, Italian artist Edoardo Tresoldi, Nigerian-born, Brooklyn-based artist Olalekan Jeyifous, along with many others. This year’s slate of creatives boasts several new and returning acts, including artist Robert Bose, whose kinetic balloon sculpture was present at the 2017 festival. United Kingdom–based installation artists NEWSUBSTANCE are also making a return this year. Their 2018 installation, Spectra, consisted of a seven-story sloping ramp tower wrapped in polychromic panels. Los Angeles–based Do Lab will also be participating again this year. The professional music festival venue creators have previously created installations for The Great Convergence at the Great Pyramids at Giza in Egypt, the Virgin Music Festival, and other large-scale events and music festivals around the globe. In 2018, Do Lab created a tent-like performance venue for Coachella that was fashioned out of yellow and blue triangulated panels. https://www.instagram.com/p/BsKcG6KHeJD/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet Absurdist art duo Dedo Vabo will also be returning to Coachella this year. In 2018, the team brought Corporate Office, a multi-story, LED-wrapped diorama to the festival. This year’s first-time acts are due to bring a breath of fresh air to the festival. Los Angeles–based Office Kovacs, helmed by Andrew Kovacs and Erin K. Wright, will be a part of the festival for the first time this year. Office Kovacs recently completed an installation at Woodbury University’s Wedge Gallery and also received an honorable mention designation for the Lima Art Museum New Contemporary Art Wing competition in 2016. Architect Francis Kéré will also be exhibiting his work at the festival for the first time in 2019. Kéré is currently working on a musical reflection pavilion for the Tippet Rise Art Center in Montana, among several other international projects. DKLA Design, a group of designers known for their life-like animal and abstract public art sculptures around the country, will bring their stand-alone pieces to this year’s festival, as well. Experiential designers Poetic Kinetics will bring one of their iconic works to Coachella. In 2016, the team partnered with the Architectural Association Visiting School Los Angeles (AAVSLA) summer program, the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, and the arts organization NOW Art L.A. to create Liquid Shard, a mesmerizing, iridescent wind-driven sculpture for L.A.’s Pershing Square park. Local artists Sofia Enriquez and Raices Cultura will also create installations for the festival, which takes place April 12-14 and again April 19-21. For more information, see the festival's website.
Los Angeles-based Materials & Applications (M&A) has announced its Fall installation program, The Kid Gets Out of the Picture, due to open October 15th at the M&A Courtyard in Los Angeles's Silverlake neighborhood. The project, guest curated by Los Angeles Design Group (LADG), consists of a collaborative installation by the curators and a group of architectural offices (First Office, Laurel Broughton/Andrew Kovacs, and Hirsute) that aims for a “contemporary update on the aesthetic principles of early 19th century English landscape architecture.” The group installation will focus on the component parts, or “catalog of nouns,” deployed to achieve a cohesive whole in traditional English gardening design. The three-month long installation will work within the language of these landscape components—follies, berms, viewpoints, and walls—in an effort to “extract the qualities of [these] images and literalize them in the real world” and will be directly installed in M&As Courtyard space, where the non-profit, experimental public architecture group typically holds its exhibitions. Describing the still-in-the-works project, Kovacs and Broughton told The Architect's Newspaper in a joint statement, "We are super excited to be part of the project with the LADG, Hirsuta, and First Office. We think the collaborative format that includes all the work overlapping in the Materials & Applications courtyard is unique and will certainly produce strange and potent juxtapositions." Support for the project has been provided by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Pasadena Art Alliance, Graham Foundation, University of California, Los Angeles School of Architecture and Urban Design and the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. The Kid Gets Out of the Picture follows M&A’s earlier and more mobile installation from earlier this year, TURF: A Mini-Golf Project, which saw a constellation of young designers take on the design of individual holes for a mini-golf installation on a vacant plot of land adjacent to L.A.’s Echo Park.
Twenty Five young American architects are taking on current significant issues facing the world in the 5x5 Participatory Provocations show at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. With the aim of engaging with the public while still being provocative within the field of architecture, 5x5 argues for participatory criticism, or critical engagement through architectural practice. The curators posed five prompts for offices to explore one of through physical models. The prompts include; Droneports – contemplating the future of drone deliveries, Inve$tment Tower$ – the consequence of the construction of extreme luxury high-rises as financial investments, Lunar Resort – luxury tourism on the moon, NSA Community Branch – the fictional development of NSA community branches, and Trump Wall – the potential construction of an anti-immigration wall on the border between the United States and Mexico. The 25 offices participating are: Abruzzo Bodziak Architects Andrew Kovacs / Archive of Affinities Anthony Titus Studio Brillhart Architecture Carl Lostritto Club Club David Emmons Formlessfinder Future Expansion GELPI Projects is-office JKurtz KNE studio Kyle May, Architect Michael Abrahamson Norden Design Platform for Architecture + Research Path + Price Studio P.R.O. + Quarra Stone Company Sean Gaffney / Christina Nguyen Snarkitecture SOFTlab SPACECUTTER Studio Cadena Ultramoderne The resulting models range from the playful to the austere, while questioning the current status of their prompted issue. Abruzzo Bodziak Architects’s NSA Community Branch invites guests to "spy" on the model through cellphone peepholes, the interior revealing and endless web of space. PATH + Price Studio’s take on the same subject places an obtrusive metal building over a neighborhood intersection. Below the ground of the model, the building is revealed to be iceberg-like, with massive underground information storage space. Brillhart Architecure’s Droneport model visualizes the very airspace companies like Amazon are fighting for as product delivery systems are rethought. Projects working with the Inve$tment Tower$ prompt also take to the air with slender supertowers. Both SPACECUTTER’s and P.R.O.’s Inve$tment Tower$ step over the cities below them with thin legs, physically expressing the separation of the rich from the rest of the city. 5x5 Participatory Provocations is curated by Julia van den Hout, founder of Original Copy, and co-founder and Editor of CLOG, Kevin Erickson a New York–based designer, and an Associate Professor in the School of Architecture, and Kyle May a New York-based architect and co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of CLOG. Sponsored by the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 5x5 Participatory Provocations will be open through March, 4th 2016.
Forget El Niño, this SoCal winter presents a deluge of architectural representation. Three weeks with three openings bring drawings, models, mock-ups, and experimental visualizations to Los Angeles. Things kick off on January 16 with the exhibition Errors, Estrangement, Messes and Fictions, featuring the work of two collaborative pairs: Laurel Broughton/Andrew Kovacs and Anna Neimark/Andrew Atwood of First Office (AN's 2015 Best Young Architects winner). Installed at the Space@All Gallery in the Bradbury Building and curated by architect Hadrian Predock, director of undergraduate programs at the USC School of Architecture the exhibition is supported by USC, where Broughton is a faculty member. Models from the four emerging architects will fill the show, which Predock describes as an “early career retrospective,” an apt description of a quartet who is just as comfortable cribbing from the past as toying with our pop present. A week later is the opening on January 22of Drawings Lie: Recent Works by Bryan Cantley at Christopher W. Mount Gallery in the Pacific Design Center. Cantley is an architect and a master illustrator, and his experimental, almost sci-fi drawings fall in line with the visionary work of Superstudio, Lebbeus Woods, and Neil Denari. “[These projects] attempt to question the role of representation in architecture, the potential of the non-building as a form of critical discourse in the profession,” said Cantley. The month closes out with Building Portraits, featuring the work of architect Elena Manferdini. The show opens on January 30 at Industry Gallery in Downtown L.A. The exhibition continues the investigations Manferdini began for the Art Institute Chicago last year—a series of elevation studies and models that riffed on Mies’ Lakeshore Drive Apartments. For this exhibition she’s created a new set of abstract, chromatic drawings and a metal mock up.
The bust, the sculptural counterpart of the portrait that dates back to classical antiquity, immortalizes not only the likeness of a person from the chest upwards, but the values of both the sculptor and the era in their concepts of beauty and nobility. An object no bigger than a head and a pair of shoulders, centuries later, is a relic embedded with cultural meaning—the preference towards an aquiline nose, for example, or a fixation with youth. With BUST, a group show on view at Jai & Jai in Los Angeles, curator William O’Brien, Jr. asked designers to apply the titular sculptural form to architecture. “Broadly speaking, the primary motivation for the exhibit is to provide a forum for the declaration of new cultures of form-making in architecture,” said O’Brien, a MIT professor and principal of WOJR. He commissioned busts by 11 firms: Andrew Kovacs, Bureau Spectacular, CODA, First Office, MILLIØNS, MOS Architects, Norman Kelley, PARA Project, Pita + Bloom, SO-IL, and WOJR (his own). The design brief asked that each practice take the notion of a basic architecture feature and reinterpret it as a figure of human scale that could be displayed on a plinth. Specifically, he was looking for individual interpretations of “characteristics associated with the facade,” according to the design brief: frontality, proportionality, symmetry, as well as anthropomorphism and zoomorphism. “The conception of a bust within an architectural context privileges certain architectural concerns—such as those related to form, figure, facade, hierarchy, orientation, exteriority, interiority—while diminishing many other architectural considerations that must ordinarily be addressed when designing buildings,” he explained. Each firm was given a relative autonomy to their approach, and in the absence of the real-world constraints typically posed by architectural-scale construction, the resulting works of sculptural abstraction lining the walls of the gallery in pantheonic rows are purely expressive. Wide variations in material and form reflect the varying mindsets. SO-IL’s Losing Face, an object of protruding surfaces shrink-wrapped in a semi-translucent plastic, brings to mind their recent Blueprint project, in which they used a similar wrapping method not to conserve the Steven Holl- and Vito Acconci-designed facade of the Storefront of Art and Architecture, but to “reinvigorate” it. Bureau Spectacular’s Contrapposto Institute cheekily takes the signature S-curve posture of Michaelangelo’s David and applies it three-story building, a tripartite stack with dangerously sloping floors. “This group represents the widest possible spectrum of contemporary architects thinking about form in new and as-of-yet-uncodified terms,” said O’Brien, with little exaggeration; other busts include a deflated Tyvek sac; a composition of mirrors and faux fur; and a humanoid bust studded with matches. “It’s my belief that the “center of gravity” of the discipline has become increasingly clouded. My feeling was that this array of contributors could help us understand the landscape of architecture-as-cultural-production ongoing today.”