American Artist Janet Echelman is to premiere her latest, and largest, sculpture in Vancouver. Widely known for her artistic ability to reshape urban airspace, Echelman’s sophisticated mixture of ancient craft and modern technology has led to collaborations with aeronautical and mechanical engineers, architects, lighting designers, landscape architects, and fabricators to “transform urban environments world wide with her net sculptures.” Using a light weight fibre to elevate her monumental “breathing” forms above the streets of urban centres, Echelman’s new sculpture will be of a size and scale never before attempted.
Daniel Libeskind has unveiled a permanent sculpture at the Cosentino Group world headquarters in Almeria: “Beyond the Wall.” Inspired by the “infinite possibilities of the spiral,” the installation is intended to exhibit how the company’s ultra-compact, innovative surfacing material, Dekton® can be used to clad contemporary facades.
“This is not a traditional spiral with a unique center and axis, but a contemporary spiral that opens multiple paths in many different directions,” describes Cosentino in a press release. “In short, a polycentric spiral energy is projected to a dramatic peak.”
The Olympics are in full swing and, although the “Coastal Cluster” of stadiums has attracted a considerable amount of attention, there is one installation demanding interaction from every spectator. Built at the entrance of Sochi’s Olympic Park is Asif Khan Studio‘s “MegaFaces,” a pavilion that “contorts itself to recreate 3D images of the faces of visitors relayed via digital face scans made in photo booths installed within the building.”
Comprised of 11,000 actuators sitting underneath the cube’s stretchy fabric membrane, the installation allows for three, eight meter tall faces to emerge from the wall at a time (the faces that emerge from the side of the pavilion are enlarged by 3500%). According to the designers, this feature of the building “has been likened to a giant pin screen and a digital, architectural Mount Rushmore.”
He has made his debut in the MAXXI piazza. As the winner of the Young Architects Program (YAP) in Rome, Turin-based studio Bam! Bottega di Architettura metropolitan has transformed the concrete facade of the Zaha Hadid-designed museum into a visual spectacular with the installation of a yellow, translucent and aerostatic prism.
“As Autumn Leaves” (AAL) is a spatial installation designed and built by students of the Laboratory for Computational Design (LCD) for Beijing‘s 2013 Design Week. Located in a historic hutong district in Beijing, AAL highlights the existing entrance to Dashilar Factory where emerging creatives exhibit their design. The concept is based on ephermerality of nature. As temperatures change, autumn turns to winter, and trees shed their leaves, AAL recalls the passage of time through changing seasons.
Khao Mo, which translates as Mythical Escapism, is a reflective sculptural work by Sanitas Studio currently being exhibited at the Bangkok Art & Cultural Centre. The concept behind the work is based on city dwellers’ desire for a moment of escape from everyday life, along with the concept of the Chinese garden: a scaled replicated universe expressed through nature in order to create a sense of tranquility. According to the artist, “the smell of earth, the moisture and vapour that evaporate from the earth, the ordinariness and the emptiness allow the audience time to imagine.”
The Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright documents the current trend of micro-scale installations spurring new life into the historic hutongs of Beijing and gaining support from the local communities, eager to reject the economic pressures of destroying/rebuilding. The local government’s endorsement, however, comes as a surprise – especially considering its fervent impetus to raze these areas just a few years ago. Read the full article here: Designers Use ‘Urban Acupuncture’ to Revive Beijing’s Historic Hutongs.
Amsterdam’s famous canal district celebrated its 400th birthday this year. And though the district has grown and evolved throughout the centuries, now, more than ever before, this UNESCO World Heritage site is struggling with how to ensure the past doesn’t hold a vice-like grip on its future.
For Jarrik Ouburg, an Amsterdam architect, the problem was more specific: in such a historic district, how do you keep urban transformations from slowing to a stop? This question eventually led him to his ongoing project, “Tussen-ruimte.” Tussen-ruimte (Dutch for ‘between space’) installs pieces of contemporary art and architecture in the hidden alleys and courtyards that have formed over years of building in the canal district.
London-based United Visual Artists (UVA) has brought Sou Fujimoto’s “cloud-like” Serpentine Pavilion to life with an “electrical storm” of LEDs. With the intention of making the architecture “breathe” from within, UVA seamlessly integrated a network of LED lights into the latticed, 20mm steel pole structure that mimics the natural forms of an electric storm. In addition, carefully conducted auditory effects further enhance the experience, transforming Fujimoto’s “radical pavilion” into an electrified geometric cloud.
The Museum of Modern Art has kicked off the popular Warm Up Summer Music series in the courtyard of MoMA PS1 with the grand opening of Party Wall. The towering installation, designed by Ithaca-based studio CODA, was the winning proposal of the 14th annual Young Architects Program in which provides emerging architects a chance to construct an innovative project as long as shades, cools and seats visitors.
With a porous skin made of woven skateboard scraps, the experimental structure has successfully met the challenge by providing a shaded refuge for the crowds with refreshing cooling stations and detachable wooden seats.
See Party Wall in action after the break…
Thanks to Alvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura, Portugal’s two Pritzker Laureates, Sao Paulo will soon have its own temporary summer pavilion – a la the Serpentine Gallery – in the city’s most important green space: Ibirapuera Park.
For this architect, there is an indiscernible line between art installation and building. Alexander Brodsky studied architecture in Moscow, while working on art installations and drawings both independently and in collaborations with other artists. Brodsky admits that his career path was unconventional, that he felt unready to take on the responsibility of building. Instead, Brodsky’s approach to architecture is through the lens of art: occupiable, room-sized installations that test spatial and sensory boundaries.
More after the break.
Under the guidance of Toyo Ito, Japanese architect Akihisa Hirata envisioned an futuristic, experienced-based installation which sought to express “manifestations of flow as they relate to people and nature” to the spectators of the 2013 Milan Design Week. Titled “Amazing Flow”, the installation offered a “vision of the city of tomorrow” with a multi-sensory experience that embodied the “Lexus’ world vision” and a glimpse into how cars flow throughout built environment The display consisted of a continuous, wooden structure that represented a moment in which “roads, humans, wind and water flow as a single entity.”
Compare the installation to the Lexus “Create Amazing” promotional video for the 2014 LF-LC Concept car and watch an interview with Hirata after the break…
Envision a future where undulating “solar plants” transform the rectangular masses of our cities into a vibrant metropolis where technology aids in the coexistence of humans and nature. Represented in the conceptual installation “Energetic Energies” at the Milan Design Week 2013, this notion of redefining our relationship with the sky through photovoltaics is based on years of technological research and development by the Panasonic Corporation, who commissioned Japanese architect Akihisa Hirata to imagine the possibilities.
The exhibition features a 30 meter-long makeshift city, whose “hills” of photovoltaics overtake clusters of white, translucent buildings while shadows of clouds move in and out of the space.
A video interview with Akihisa Hirata and more images after the break…
The internationally – and often controversial - acclaimed artist Christo has unveiled the “largest indoor sculpture ever made”. Prepared to debut in a public exhibition starting March 16, the inflated “Big Air Package” has been designed to occupy a 117-meter-tall former gas tank known as Gasometer Oberhausen in Germany. The 90-meter-high, 50-meter-wide sculpture is made from 20,350 square meters of semitransparent polyester fabric and 4,500 meters of rope, with a total weight of 5.3 tons and a volume of 177,000 cubic meters.
The seemingly endless, inflatable installation was conceived in 2010 and is Christo’s first major work after the passing of his wife and artistic partner Jeanne-Claude in 2009.
More on Christo’s “Big Air Package” after the break…