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Alice Bucknell

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Touch It, Smell It, Feel It: Architecture for the Senses

07:00 - 15 October, 2018
Arakawa + Gins' Bioscleave House in East Hampton, New York used non-orthogonal geometries, undulating floors, and even isolation pods in their experiments to create architecture's that would "stop ageing." Image via Metropolis Magazine. Image Courtesy of Dimitris Yeros, © 2008 Estate of Madeline Gins, Reproduced with permission of the estate of Madeline Gins
Arakawa + Gins' Bioscleave House in East Hampton, New York used non-orthogonal geometries, undulating floors, and even isolation pods in their experiments to create architecture's that would "stop ageing." Image via Metropolis Magazine. Image Courtesy of Dimitris Yeros, © 2008 Estate of Madeline Gins, Reproduced with permission of the estate of Madeline Gins

This article was originally published on Metropolis Magazine as "Architecture You Can Smell? A Brief History of Multisensory Design."

What comes to mind when you encounter the term “sensory design”? Chances are it is an image: a rain room, a funky eating utensil, a conspicuously textured chair. But the way things actually feel, smell, even taste, is much harder to capture. This difficulty points to how deeply ingrained the tyranny of vision is. Might the other senses be the keys to unlocking broader empirical truths? Does the ocular-centric bias of art, architecture, and design actually preclude a deeper collective experience?

A Brief Architectural History of Nightclubs

09:30 - 19 June, 2018
The environments of nightclubs shifted along with trends in architecture and design. Pomo theatrics formed the interiors of the Flash Back Discotheque in Borgo San Dalmazzo. Image Courtesy of Paolo Mussat Sartor
The environments of nightclubs shifted along with trends in architecture and design. Pomo theatrics formed the interiors of the Flash Back Discotheque in Borgo San Dalmazzo. Image Courtesy of Paolo Mussat Sartor

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "The Designers Who Made Disco."

What can’t be done on the dance floor? Not much, said the 1960s Radical Design collective Gruppo 9999, which argued that discos should be “a home for everything, from rock music, to theater, to visual arts.” Other artists and designers—including New York bad-boy painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, architect Peter Cook of Archigram, and Manchester’s “cathedral of rave” creator Ben Kelly—saw the dance floor as a more subversive setting: one where boundaries could be blurred and thresholds crossed, where partying and politics could be woven together in the dark to channel a cultural revolution. Night Fever at the Vitra Design Museum stitches together this conception of the nightclub as a social Gesamtkunstwerk.

In general, nightclub designers excel at playing with issues of scale, as Akoaki’s 2014 Mothership mobile DJ pod attests. Image Courtesy of Akoaki The Arata Isozaki–designed Palladium in New York City, with mural by Keith Haring. Image Courtesy of Timothy Hursley/Garvey|Simon Gallery New York The environments of nightclubs shifted along with trends in architecture and design. Architects’ dalliance with pneumatic structures in the late ’60s and early ’70s was reflected in the design of Florence, Italy’s Space Electronic. Image Courtesy of Carlo Caldini, Gruppo 9999 Les Bains Douches in Paris, 1990, designed by Philippe Starck. Image Courtesy of Foc Kan + 12

Why Snøhetta's "A House to Die In" Is One of Norway's Most Controversial Construction Projects

09:30 - 13 April, 2018
Why Snøhetta's "A House to Die In" Is One of Norway's Most Controversial Construction Projects, Rendering of proposed design for A House to Die In, as seen ascending the hill. Image © MIR and Snøhetta
Rendering of proposed design for A House to Die In, as seen ascending the hill. Image © MIR and Snøhetta

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Inside the Design of Norway’s Most Controversial Building."

The sun is setting fast over a half-frozen hill about five miles west of Oslo. Named Kikkut after a now-demolished villa, the site neighbors Ekely, the old estate of Edvard Munch (itself now half razed), and save for some graffiti-covered detritus and an early crop of spring wildflowers, its peak is totally barren. Squinting northward to Munch’s Winter Atelier some 500 feet in the distance, it’s hard to believe this is the proposed site for A House to Die In: one of the most controversial building proposals in recent Norwegian history.

The brainchild of Norway’s enfant terrible artist Bjarne Melgaard, the proposal for “A House to Die In” is a luminescent, UFO-like living sculpture that doubles as a studio and home for Melgaard and his parents. With financial backing from two of the most powerful property developers in the country, the Selvaags and Sealbay A/S—longterm friends of the artist who also supplied the plot of land on the outskirts of the city—the Oslo-based Melgaard approached local Norwegian firm Snøhetta in 2011 with his idea for a combined artwork, studio—and final resting place.