There’s something quite exciting about architectural installations – they bring something new and unexpected to a familiar location. They are often multisensory, blurring the lines between what is art and what is architecture. And they are a major drawcard for tourists and locals alike, making us rethink the spaces we inhabit. When travelling abroad, the team at Modscape always aim to have an architectural installation on their must see list for design inspiration. We recently polled the office on their top four wish list and these were the winners:
1. The Hive
The National Building Museum in Washington is abuzz with activity – all thanks to the Hive installation.
Designed by architecture and urban design practice, Studio Gang, the installation seeks to bring people together to explore and engage the senses.
Hives of activity are created through the use of more than 2,500 interlocking paper tubes that form chambers suited for both intimate conversations and group performances.
Showcasing the building process itself, the installation plays with scale in a fascinating way – its enormous exterior reaches up to the ceiling of the Great Hall is juxtaposed against the intimacy one experiences inside the structures.
The installation also encourages acoustic experimentation as visitors are invited to play with drum-like tubes and chimes inside the chambers, exploring how the sound travels in weird and interesting ways as you move about the space.
In a statement, Studio Gang founding principal Jeanne Gang said, “The whole structure works like a clearing in a forest…It makes it an intimate acoustic space. Visitors are offered a multisensory experience which will allow them to reflect on ways that a structure can shape how we perceive light, sound and even human interaction.”
Gang’s inspiration for the installation evolved from patterns in nature and the celebrated domes of classical architecture. The magenta colour used inside each tube is inspired by January’s Women’s March where the colour was ever-present. “When you saw the hats you couldn’t help but be inspired by the colour,” explained Gang. “We wanted to bring that out.”
The installation opening was delayed due to the complexities of the construction but is open now until the start of September 2017.
2. Vertigo Inducing Optical Illusions
If you happen to find yourself at the world EXPO 2017 in Astana you should definitely make your way to the art pavilion. Here you’ll find some seriously trippy robotic and computer generated art.
Internationally renowned Austrian artist, Peter Kogler, transforms the space by adorning the floors, walls and ceiling with line drawings. The effect is hypnotic. The ordinary space is distorted and appears to curve and bend in unnatural ways.
Kogler’s fascinating works are created with the aid of a computer and projections that help morph the apparently-solid walls into abstract, twisting surfaces.
As a pioneer of computer-generated art (he’s been using computer technology since 1984), Kogler intelligently challenges a viewer’s sense of depth and perception by creating installations that are both immersive and sculptural. The result is a dizzying space that is bold to say the least.
Both engaging and eye-catching, this is certainly an installation worth checking out before it closes at the start of September 2017.
3. Transparent Sculptures
Picture yourself being able to physically walk around an imaginary place. Well that’s the sensation you get when you walk around the outdoor event space created by Italian sculptor, Edoardo Tresoldi.
Tresoldi, in collaboration with Dubai-based studio Designlab Experience, has crafted a magical wonderland of ghostly sculptures that engage with natural elements, such as living trees and greenery. The result is an airy space which teeters on the line between real and imaginary.
The Renaissance inspired domes, columns and arches were painstakingly built purely out of wire mesh and were designed and constructed over a three month period.
Lit from both above and below, the suspended architectural objects take on a translucent dream-like appearance.
Based in Rome, Edoardo Tresoldi is an artist whose practice focuses on spatial interventions, scenography and sculpture. A large proportion of his works are built using wire mesh – from figurative shapes to architectural space.
We’d love to visit this installation – but alas, the magical space was created for a private event hosted by the royal family of Abu Dhabi and unfortunately we were not one of the 1750 lucky guests.
4. Brutalist Playground
Now here’s one for the kids (or the young at heart). It’s called Brutalist Playground – but it’s anything but brutal.
Architecture collective Assemble has teamed up with British artist Simon Terrill to create full-size foam replicas of playground designs from architecture’s Brutalist era.
Inspired by the concrete objects in playgrounds that were built to accompany the Brutalist housing blocks that sprung up across Britain during the mid-20th century, these structures create an interactive playground where the viewer becomes participant. In this way they offer a renewed understanding and critique of the architects’ original designs and intentions.
Visitors can climb on the pastel pink, blue and green foam objects which form stairs, slopes, platforms and slides.
The Edge art space and the University of Bath, which is celebrating its 50th year, has launched the family friendly exhibition featuring full-sized interactive equipment. It acknowledges the concrete origins of Bath’s 1960s campus, which went on to incorporate buildings designed by Brutalist architects Alison and Peter Smithson.
The original playgrounds were largely demolished, but using archival material from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Terrill was able to recreate some of the playground structures.
The installation is on now until the start of September 2017 at The Edge art space at the University and is a joy for both adults and children alike. It promises to be “part sculpture, part architectural installation, all play”. Who can resist that combo?