Studio Olafur Eliasson

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Den trekantede himmel (The triangular sky), was unveiled in the sculpture park of KUNSTEN Museum of Modern Art Aalborg. The pavilion’s three abutting mirrors invite visitors to interact, experience, and reflect on their own senses. The work draws attention to the world around us and our own presence in it. — hier: KUNSTEN Museum of Modern Art Aalborg.

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Rooftop experiments @ Studio Olafur Eliasson

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@ Studio Olafur Eliasson


Starbrick, 2009, at Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, 2013
© Olafur Eliasson and Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien

The film Your embodied garden, 2013 arose from a trip made by Olafur Eliasson to the Chinese scholar’s gardens of Suzhou, China, with writer Hu Fang and gallerist Zhang Wei, choreographer Steen Koerner, organisers Lu Jia and Anna Engberg-Pedersen, graphic designers Huang Shan and Huang He, artists Julian Charriere and Thilo Frank, documentarist Tomas Gislason and landscape architect Günther Vogt.

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Film stills of Your embodied garden, 2013
Produced by Studio Olafur Eliasson, Berlin; and Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou
© Olafur Eliasson

James Nizam






A selection of photographs by James Nizam from his series Trace Heavens.

Daniel Rybakken




Playing with daylight and light
Photography by Kalle Sanner & Daniel Rybakken.



Desert living ain’t easy—something the artists and designers who participated in the High Desert Test Sites exhibition this past weekend found out the hard way. For the last eight years, the artist Andrea Zittel has invited a select group of creatives to a 25-acre parcel of land she owns near Joshua Tree in Wyoming to create a series of outdoor installations, and to experience how she lives the other 51 weekends out of the year: the long drives, the wind, the temperature extremes. Because the works are all site-specific, many of them tend to reflect a kind of survivalist mentality, which was certainly true of this year’s fare.

“I think there’s something about the desert that brings that quality out, maybe even instinctively,” says Brooks Hudson Thomas, founder of the now-defunct Specific Merchandise in Los Angeles and one of several guest curators Zittel invited to help mastermind this year’s event, which focused specifically on design and architecture interventions. “Everyone gave me a sense of their relationship to not only the outdoors, but to the environment, materials, and space that seemed to make sense out there,” he says. We asked Thomas to tell us more about three of the works his team was responsible for.

1. ROLU and Welcome Projects
“Here—There, There—Here,” a collaboration between the Minneapolis studio ROLU and Laurel Broughton’s L.A.-based Welcome Projects, is a five-foot-wide piece of white synthetic felt the designers unfurled across two miles of dry river bed known as Coyote Dry Lake, then another two miles up into the mountains. Ten tent-shaped “domestic structures” placed along the way, some as large as five feet tall, doubled as oases where those walking the length of the piece could stop to sit and think or hydrate in before continuing on their trek.




Japanese designer Oki Sato has created slews of playful furniture and gadgets since he set up his Tokyo design studio, Nendo, in 2002. “Our approach is small surprises in everyday life,” says Sato. For Nendo’s latest solo exhibition, at the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute (NTCRI), the firm has masterminded this trademark aesthetic within the gallery setting. Made up of monochrome whimsical scenes, the exhibit displays sketches of indoor and outdoor spaces that line the interior walls, enveloping the viewer and forming a dialogue with the minimalist products on display. “It’s the story behind the design that is the most important thing for us,” says Sato. “Now that we can do almost anything and can see anything on the Internet, the role of real space is changing.”

Presenting a pair of furniture ranges called Thin Black Lines and Dancing Squares, Nendo’s designs in the show are based on the notion of still or active lines. As Sato puts it, “We would like to design pieces that look between two-dimensional and three-dimensional by using a common material.” For Dancing Squares, a collection of boxy white shelving units, tables, and stands, the firm created a living space that appears as if seen through a fish-eye lens; for Thin Black Lines, a family of black wire-frame pieces produced by Capellini, they designed a floor that appears to flow like a rushing river around the objects.

The partnering of the NTCRI and Nendo began with a range called Yii (shown in Milan at this year’s Salone and featured in Surface’s July/August 2011 issue), which includes the firm’s Bamboo-Steel chair. Nendo’s holistic approach to design—“the same process for all projects, architecture or furniture,” says Sato—allows for the firm’s concepts to allude to conventional notions of scale. In the case of the exhibit, this approach also alludes to notions of reality.

Thin Black Lines and Dancing Squares
Photos: Daici Ano