This week I’m searching the internet for architectural installation inspiration. My teacher is trying to get permission for the third and fourth year architecture students to temporarily transform a space in our high school with a 3-D interactive installation piece.
I’ve always loved installations because their short-term nature creates nearly limitless possibilities for designers. The practical limitations that normally impinge upon architects’ creativity no longer apply in these transient projects. This installations are innovative fusions of art and architecture that truly impact viewers. Here are some of my favorites…
This past August, on a trip to Vancouver I was fortunate enough to see this curvaceous stretch of bright yellow turf installed by Vivia Vancouver. They took over a street in the heart of downtown Vancouver, right outside of the Vancouver Art Gallery. The designers created this installation to present locals with an opportunity to take a break from hectic urban life to slow down, relax, and maybe even have a picnic.
In 2010, one of my favorite installation groups, Ball Nogues, combined 268 tables and stools to create this space for student to perform and socialize in UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall Courtyard. As the “tablecloth” meets the ground, it creates an intimate sitting area for students, which enables viewers to interact with the installation. This genius collaboration with the UCLA schools of Architecture and Urban Design, Music, and Design Media Arts not only increased visitors’ experience, but it also enhanced the acoustic qualities of the space. On of the aspects of this design that impressed me most is its lack of waste, because when they tore down the design, they donated all of the seats and tables to provide extra seating for members of the UCLA community.
In both New York’s Art Center and Japan’s 21 Century Art Museum, Leandro Erlich built full-sized swimming pools for his installations, and filled only the top 10 centimeters with water, reserving the space below it as an empty space that viewers can enter. His disorienting piece creates the illusion of the visitors standing fully clothed, breathing at the bottom of the swimming pool.
Each year SCI-Arc Freshmen work together to design a series of installations that they put up throughout the building to showcase student innovation and creativity. When I visited the campus, it was amazing to hear that the faculty worked with the fire department to update the building so that students could build their incredible design without breaking fire code. I was equally amazed to learn that students only a year older than me were able to create the design and lead the execution of making this incredible installation a reality.
Salcedo transformed an empty lot with this avant-garde sculpture using 1,550 chairs piled atop each other for the International Instanbul Biennale in 2003. By occupying a space normally occupied by humans with chairs, objects that humans normally occupy, she elevates these mundane objects to create a thought-provoking art installation.
The designers unveiled this installation at the monthly Green Drink sustainability talks in Auckland in 2008. The incorporation of living plants heightens the organization’s message about the importance of working to improve the planet’s wellbeing. I love the wittiness behind the designer’s idea of replacing the polluting toxins that normally spill out of massive barrels, with fresh life.
Pistoletto wrapped shoulder-high cardboard in a swirling maze to force visitors to travel through the space to view the collection of Christian, Islamic, Jewish, and Buddhist sculptures. I think it is wonderful how he forces visitors to build patience and understanding as they move through the narrow spaces in order to view the art. The cardboard installation truly enhances visitors’ openness and appreciation of the various religions.