“Flowers aren’t just beautiful to show on tables,” said Makoto Azuma, a 38-year-old artist based in Tokyo. His latest installation piece, if you could call it that, takes this statement to the extreme. Two botanical objects – “Shiki 1,” a Japanese white pine bonsai suspended from a metal frame, and an untitled arrangement of orchids, hydrangeas, lilies and irises, among other blossoms – were launched into the stratosphere on Tuesday in Black Rock Desert outside Gerlach, Nevada, a site made famous for its hosting of the annual Burning Man festival. ”I wanted to see the movement and beauty of plants and flowers suspended in space,” Azuma explained that morning.
“Mount Etna is a mine without miners – it is excavating itself to expose its raw materials.” Studio Formafantasma, in collaboration with Gallery Libby Sellers, present ‘De Natura Fossilium’ – an investigation into the culture of lava in the Mount Etna and Stromboli regions of Sicily, two of the last active volcanoes in Europe.
Formafantasma questions the link between tradition and local culture and the relationship between objects and the idea of cultural heritage. De Natura Fossilium is a project that refuses to accept locality as touristic entertainment. Instead, the work of Formafantasma is a different expedition in which the landscape is not passively contemplated but restlessly sampled, melted, blown, woven, cast and milled. From the more familiar use of basalt stone to their extreme experiments with lava in the production of glass and the use of volcanic fibers for textile, Formafantasma’s explorations and the resulting objects realise the full potential of the lava as a material for design.
‘De Natura Fossilium’, by Studio Formafantasma, for Gallery Libby Sellers, London, Photography by Luisa Zanzani
Richard Pare’s fascination with modernist architecture shines through his vast collection of images taken over several decades. Living Laboratory will illustrate how he photographs buildings, taking care to reveal both their many subtleties and magnificent monumentality. Pare’s perceptive point of view brings into play dramatic use of light, (always achieved with no supplemental lighting) as well as varied weather conditions and seasons.
To achieve his images he deploys a wide range of technical approaches, combining conventional film and a view camera with the latest advances in digital image making. These state-of-the-art aspects of his work serve to highlight the majesty of his subjects without in any way overwhelming the purposes of the undertaking. He is also attentive to the effects of the passage of time and changing social conditions on the works he chooses to portray. The absence of human beings, coupled with signs of wear and decay, including creeping vegetation and the lingering evidence of past eras, emphasise the impermanence of seemingly solid structures and their struggle for survival.
While Pare’s work covers many subjects, Living Laboratory reveals his admiration for Le Corbusier and Konstantin Melnikov, two of the finest and earliest proponents of modernist principles in architecture.
Living Laboratory: Richard Pare on Le Corbusier and Konstantin Melnikov, March 21 – May 11, 2014, PM Gallery & House, London, United Kingdom
Photography by Richard Pare
Italian architect and illustrator Federico Babina has recently unveiled a new project, this time taking a look at the connection between architecture and the visual arts. Titled ‘Archist’, the project comprises a series of illustrations of imaginary buildings inspired by famous works of art. Beginning with the question: what would a house designed by Dalí or a museum by Miró look like, the resulting images demonstrate what Federico Babina believes is the ”implicit partnership between Architecture and Art.” They sometimes treat the facade as a canvas decorated with a well-known piece of art, while in other cases, they draw inspiration from the artist’s overall output to create an inventive architectural composition. Quite interestingly, and probably unbeknownst to the artist himself, the project also shows how the visual arts world is just as male-dominated as the world of architecture, as only two women (Jeanne-Claude – Christo’s partner – and Anne Truitt) made it onto Babina’s list of 27 ”most popular artists.”
List of artists: Keith Haring, Sol LeWitt, Anish Kapoor, Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, Pablo Picasso, Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Donald Judd, Joan Miró, Mark Rothko, Gerhard Richter, Richard Serra, Piet Mondrian, Ernesto Neto, Ellsworth Kelly, Josef Albers, Antoni Tàpies, James Turell, Frank Stella, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Anne Truitt, Lucio Fontana, Tony Smith, Peter Halley, Kazimir Málevich.
“Okko hotel is, first and foremost, the story of my encounter with Olivier Devys, the project’s founder. Starting with a blank page, we combined our visions and our determination to take up the challenge of upending traditional practices in the hospitality industry to create a bold and innovative concept, an all-included package for the best location, best service and best price! Thus was born the idea of a contemporary and urban four-star hotel where the human, design, and innovation are at the heart of the project. I designed an adequate, simple, and timeless product around this “Okko spirit” to cater to customers’ new needs: a place unaffected by time or trends and where the notions of service and comfort are essential; to be able to work, dine, relax, be waited on or use anything freely, any time of the day; to feel like being home away from home. The high-end amenities and services in the modern and relaxing Okko room and in the vast and convivial Club room make the Okko hotel a unique place that combines aesthetics and comfort. I wanted to create a brand, not just a hotel!”
The Groninger Museum presents the first large-scale solo exhibition of the work of Jaime Hayon (Madrid, 1974). Hayon is one of the most acclaimed designers of his generation. His work consists of autonomous and applied projects, across various disciplines such as ceramics, wood, glass, textiles, product, furniture and interior design. This exhibition is a reflection of the past ten years, a period of intense creativity and growth, in which Hayon has increasingly developed his autonomous work.
Hayon was educated as an industrial designer in Madrid and Paris, and subsequently joined Fabrica, the communications research centre of the Italian clothing label Benetton, in 1997. Within a relatively short time he rose from being a simple student to head of department. In 2000, he started up his own company and made his debut in the art design world with the ceramic work Mediterranean Digital Baroque. The Groninger Museum has been following Jaime Hayon for quite some time. In 2009, the Museum purchased two large installations (Mediterranean Digital Baroque and Mon Cirque) and in 2010 he designed the Museum’s new information centre. With commissions from all over the world and a host of renowned clients, Hayon is regarded as one of the most influential young designers of the present day. The exhibition includes the installations Mediterranean Digital Baroque and Mon Cirque as well as the now iconic Green Chicken and commissioned works for clients such as Baccarat and Lladro. American Chateau, the collaborative project he made with his partner artist, Nienke Klunder, is also featured in the exhibition.
A remarkable element of the exhibition is The Tournament: a unique work that consists of a life-size chess set made of turned wood and hand-painted ceramics, which the Groninger Museum managed to purchase recently. Hayon created this work in 2009, having been commissioned by the Design Festival London to do so; the work was inspired by the Battle of Trafalgar. This is the Dutch première of the artwork. The intention is to organize chess games at specified times. Jaime Hayon’s work issues from an irresistible urge to create his own world. It occupies a central position between autonomous art and design, where amusing, fantastic and narrative elements are combined with a keen eye for detail and finishing. His signature is characterized by a stylized input in which diverse styles blend together. Making use of all these other elements, Hayon translates craftsmanship and traditional techniques into emotionally influential objects and interiors that invite the viewer to be a part of them.
Jaime Hayon: Funtastico, October 13, 2013 – March 30, 2014, at Groninger Museum, Netherlands, Photography © klunderbie, Jaime Hayon
For the month of contemporary art, Gallery S. Bensimon invites the Mexican sculptor Sebastian to present an exhibition of his work, convertible for children sculptures and bronze series “Quantum”. The sculptor place in his creations mathematical laws or generally fundamental laws, including balance and strength. The exhibition will be an opportunity to discover parts which have been investigated both in formal terms, as color or material.
Sculpture, by Sebastian, October 24 – December 10 at Gallery S. Bensimon, 111 rue de Turenne 75003 Paris
Winners of the 2013 Restaurant & Bar Design Awards have been announced. Norman Foster’s Atrium Champagne Bar in London won for Best Bar.
Atrium Champagne Bar, London, by Foster + Partners, Overall Winner 2013 Restaurant & Bar Design Awards
Friedman Benda will present Paul Cocksedge: CAPTURE the British designer’s inaugural solo exhibition, the works include Capture, a 5 ¼ ft (1.6 meter) hand-spun aluminum dome that appears to “hold” the peaceful glow of a warm white light. The piece is informed by a process of reduction–a recurring theme in Cocksedge’s work–as it subtracts the typical infrastructure around light, instead creating a hemisphere that seems to stop light from escaping. For White Light, Cocksedge will create a room within the gallery in which everything and nothing changes. For this work, the designer will create an illuminated mosaic of precisely calibrated and positioned colored panels on the ceiling of the gallery. The ceiling will slowly fade from a spectrum of colors to a warm white light, while the room itself will remain unchanged, demonstrating the ways in which we do and do not perceive the interplay of color and light.
The inspiration for Poised comes from the elegance and amenability of paper. Half a ton in weight, the steel table appears improbable upon investigation. Created following an intensive series of calculations regarding gravity, mass, and equilibrium, the table looks as though it is about to fall, but is perfectly weighted and stable.
In addition to these new works, Cocksedge will present three architectural models that take conceptual threads from Capture and White Light and reapply them to architectural settings outside of the gallery space. Central to Cocksedge’s work is an appreciation for the ways in which people respond to and interact with his designs. As a result, potential real world applications of these new works will be explored in a series of architectural models.