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  1. ArchDaily
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  3. On View in LA: "ZOOM" / Steven Christensen and Mads Christensen

On View in LA: "ZOOM" / Steven Christensen and Mads Christensen

  • 00:00 - 14 January, 2015
On View in LA: "ZOOM" / Steven Christensen and Mads Christensen
On View in LA: "ZOOM" / Steven Christensen and Mads Christensen, © NO RELATION

Now on view until January 18 at the A+D Architecture and Design Museum in Los Angeles, Zoom is an installation by the interdisciplinary collaborative NO RELATION, led by architect Steven Christensen and artist Mads Christensen. The project reflects upon the topic of scale, and the exuberant surface qualities one often observes in ordinary objects when magnified. The installation acts as a space multiplier, using form and light to produce an immersive and disorienting spatial experience at a scale seemingly larger than the project's diminutive footprint.


From the architect: 

XS [scale of inquiry]:

Zoom originates from an interest in the ornamental excess one often observes in objects when viewed in microscopic detail, and the potential perceptual qualities of such exuberance when amplified.

Although such surface detail has a certain relationship to the form upon which it lies, it can convey an additional layer of information about an object's properties (as in an unexcavated mineral, whose micro-sectional striated surface may provide the most accurate evidence of the geometric logic of its atomic structure, while its overall form is constrained by other contextual pressures). Through a close look at the tenuous relationship between micro-scale pattern and macro-scale form, the project studies the perceptual effects that can be located within the dissonance.



This obstinate obsidian mass carries an indexical register of its subtractive formal genesis within its ornament and poché. It shows its work. Beginning with a series of cubes rotated on their diagonal axis (30°, 60°, 90°), and obedient to the resultant series of internal cleavage planes, the design process involved the trimming of the textured, the eccentric, the difficult. Its interior surface illustrates the final extracted phase, while its exterior surface results from an intermediate step in the process. The embedded line work of the exterior surface reveals a still-earlier stage, its idiosyncratic geometries projected onto the intermediate object as a series of topographical contours.



On a fundamental level, our collaborative is interested in the relationship between form and light. In the case of Zoom, the bright/dark patterns generated when light strikes the object's surfaces obliquely begin to subtly invoke depth - a graphic effect explored by the figure/ground work of op artists such as Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely. Such work takes advantage of the constraints within the microscopic physical geometries of our own sight organs, demonstrating the manner in which limitations can yield transcendence, by producing depth and animation within the flat and static.

This project investigates the application of 2D graphics that suggest a third dimension upon a physically three dimensional object, and likewise investigates the implied movement produced by the perceptual oscillation of figure and ground in these graphics by literally oscillating the two conditions in 4D. The objective is by no means redundancy; rather, the goal is that the dissonance between the virtual (2D) and actual (3D/4D) produces emergent effects, similar to the way that superimposed but mismatched patterns can yield a secondary moiré.



This project is a study in polyvalence. In pursuit of the increasingly elusive goal of immediacy, it seeks to address a diverse audience by operating on multiple intellectual and perceptual strata. It puts the conceptual project of indexical formalism to work in service of alternative agendas, including the fuzzy signification of the resultant form and the visceral impact of its optical effects.

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About this author
Karissa Rosenfield
Cite: "On View in LA: "ZOOM" / Steven Christensen and Mads Christensen" 14 Jan 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884