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Arc Zero by James Tapscott

Arc Zero by James Tapscott

Arc Zero by James Tapscott

Arc Zero by James Tapscott

Arc Zero by James Tapscott

Arc Zero by James Tapscott

As part of the recent Japan Alps Art Festival in the northwestern Nagano prefecture of Japan, Australian artist James Tapscott was commissioned to install a site-specific work, which he titled Arc Zero – Nimbus, a ring of mist that encircles a bridge leading guests to the grounds of Hotokizaki Kanon-ji, a local Buddhist Temple.

With mist sourced from the local river water, the installation explores the journey of melting snow to water, down the mountain, processed by the land, and back up again as evaporated mist.

The steel ring includes LED strips and is clad in laser-cut acrylic mirror, to better camouflage into the environment. At day, the mist produces produces rainbows and refracts the natural light, and as it gets darker, illumination lends an otherworldly mood to the piece.

More at: Japan Alps Art Festival
Photos: James Tapscott

Tool Roots by Mike Abelson at Maison Hermès

Tool Roots at Hermès Ginza

Tool Roots at Hermès Ginza

Tool Roots at Hermès Ginza

Tool Roots at Hermès Ginza

Tool Roots at Hermès Ginza

Postalco co-founder and designer Mike Abelson is the latest to oversee the window design at Hermès’ Ginza store in Tokyo. The display, titled Tool Roots, features a variety of tools and work objects arranged and broken down by their primary elements; Tool Roots is Ableson’s response to the Hermès 2017 theme of “Object Sense,” with 3-dimensional charts of daily objects mixed with drawings. The presentation is interwoven with Hermès products, and spans across two large display cases, as well as smaller feature boxes.

“Maybe tools are like colors? Perhaps they can be blended together, the way colors are, to form new objects with completely different roles?” says Abelson.

Tool Roots runs through July 11, 2017.

More at: Maison Hermès, Postalco
Photos: Mike Abelson

Forms in Space… by Light (in Time) by Cerith Wyn Evans

Forms in Space... by Light (in Time) by Cerith Wyn Evans

Forms in Space... by Light (in Time) by Cerith Wyn Evans

Forms in Space... by Light (in Time) by Cerith Wyn Evans

Cerith Wyn Evans’ installation, Forms in Space… by Light (in Time), at the Tate Britain’s Duveen Galleries, is an exploration of form and perspective via more than a mile of neon lighting; strict lines and graphic shapes of light are suspended from the ceiling, referencing physical and kinetic gestures.

At first glance, the almost chaotic nature of the installation is similar in visual style to “light writing,” a popular trend in art photography, however, as the viewer moves along the installation and perspective shifts, the uniform arrangement appears to be in motion. Structured in three parts that emerge from a single neon ring and develop into three disc forms, Wyn Evan’s implemented choreology – the practice of translating movement into notational form, and was influenced by the precise work of Japanese Noh theater, a gesture-based, highly-crafted performance art. The artist describes the three forms as “occulist witnesses,” a reference to artist Marcel Duchamp’s sculpture The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass), which was donated to the Tate’s collection in 1975.

Best known for his use of neon lighting, the work of Welsh conceptual artist Cerith Wyn Evans ranges from experimental film, to installation, sculpture, photography, and text. Other light installations by Wyn Evans include E=V=E=N=T (2015), a sculpture commissioned for Malmo Live, and Arr/Dep (imaginary landscape for the birds) (2006), at Lufthansa’s Frankfurt headquarters.

Forms in Space… by Light (in Time) by Cerith Wyn Evans runs until August, 20 at Tate Britain, London.

More at: Tate Britain
Photos: Joe Humphreys © Tate

Visible Distance / Second Sight by Jennifer Bolande

Visible Distance / Second Sight by Jennifer Bolande

As part of Desert X, the exhibition of site-specific works by various artists (from which you’ve probably seen images of the very popular Mirage, the mirror-covered house by Doug Aitken) in the Coachella Valley of California, Jennifer Bolande’s contribution Visible Distance / Second Sight, is a clever commentary on advertising and distraction. A series of standard, full-size billboards along the Gene Autry Trail, meant to be experienced from a moving car, feature photographs of the surrounding mountains, positioned in a way that at approach, can appear to align with the natural horizon. The Visible Distance / Second Sight series references the advertising technique referred to as “Burma-Shave,” named after the shaving company of the same name that used sequential placement of signs to create messaging intended to be read from a moving vehicle. If you’ve traveled this route near Palm Springs, you are familiar with the very-present billboard advertising, which can easily distract from the scenery in which it is placed, Bolande uses this opportunity to point to the striking landscape itself. 

(Desert X runs through April 30, 2017.)

More at: Desert X
Photos: Lance Gerber

As Close As You Can For As Long As It Lasts by Gordon & Tschiember

 As Close As You Can For As Long As It Lasts by Gordon and Tschiember

 As Close As You Can For As Long As It Lasts by Gordon and Tschiember

 As Close As You Can For As Long As It Lasts by Gordon and Tschiember

 As Close As You Can For As Long As It Lasts by Gordon and Tschiember

In the picturesque, serene Swiss Alps, Douglas Gordon and Morgane Tschiember’s As close as you can for as long as it lasts is a temporary art installation produced for the biennial event Elevation 1049, supported by the LUMA Foundation. Using fire, smoke, and sound, the piece is a call-and-response between two artists, a vague allusion to the regional tradition of yodeling. Tschiember’s circular fire works with Gordon’s installed sound piece, which is based on our primal fears of unforeseen animals and the dark, under the narrative of a lonely traveler being lured through the woods surrounding Gstaad, by the reassuring smoke and warm fire, as well as the potential of companionship in this setting.

As close as you can for as long as it lasts is on view as a part of Elevation 1049 through March 19, 2017.

More at: Elevation 1049
Photos:  Stefan Altenburger

Journey by Kohei Oda at Maison Hermès

At the base of the Renzo Piano designed Maison Hermès in the heart of the Ginza district of Tokyo, botanist and cactus enthusiast Kohei Oda has developed a new landscape for the presentation of Hermès’ finery. The installation, “Journey,” which runs through September 26, features Oda’s unusual and astonishing plant life serving as an artful backdrop for pieces from the Hermès collection. The masterful arrangment offers a natural contrast and an unexpected air of relativity to the Hermès selections; in the larger displays, a multitude of textural cacti of varying height create an otherworldly scene, and in the smaller windows, dried plant forms interact and are entangled with the house’s accessories.

Kohei Oda at Maison Hermès

Kohei Oda at Maison Hermès

Kohei Oda at Maison Hermès

Kohei Oda at Maison Hermès

Kohei Oda at Maison Hermès

Kohei Oda at Maison Hermès

Kohei Oda at Maison Hermès

A favorite of The Aesthetic Post, Hiroshima-based Kohei Oda has revolutionized the “face” of cacti. From his world-renowned shop, Qusamura, to international installations, Oda’s work encourages us to reconsider plant life; by presenting cacti in unexpected ways, Oda surely engages the eye, but his horticultural experiments, including those with grafting (transplanting pieces of one plant to grow on another), move into the territory of sculpture and the extraordinary natural possibilities associated. 

Maison Hermès is not only a shopping space, but a structure that houses workshops and offices, exhibition areas, and multimedia quarters, as well as a roof garden and a courtyard with direct access to the Tokyo subway. Its cladding, composed of more than 13,000 glass blocks, developed by acclaimed architect and engineer Renzo Piano, makes for a true architectural destination. The display windows at the base of Maison Hermès are the perfect stage for artists to reexamine “window dressing.”

More at: Maison Hermès, Qusamura
Photos: Hermès

Olafur Eliasson’s Waterfall at Versailles

Olafur Eliasson, Waterfall

Olafur Eliasson, Waterfall

Olafur Eliasson, Waterfall

As part of the Palace of Versailles’ annual contemporary art exhibition, artist Olafur Eliasson’s works are installed across the grounds, engaging visitors in a variety of ways. Eliasson, known for his large-scale installations that explore light, perception, and environmental issues, introduces unexpected experiences to Versailles, without interfering with the historic layout or landscape.

Perhaps the most striking installation is Waterfall, a monumental fountain that simulates the action of a waterfall and recalls his previous waterfall series in New York City. Viewed from front, the outpour of water appears to come from mid-air, cascading into the Grand Canal. A latticed tower of yellow steel girders provides the feature’s base; the installation is partly influenced by 15th-16th century French monarch Louis XIV’s landscape architect André Le Notre, who had planned an ambitious water feature for the garden that was never realized.

“This waterfall reinvigorates the engineering ingenuity of the past,” said Eliasson. “It is as constructed as the court was, and I’ve left the construction open for all to see – a seemingly foreign element that expands the scope of human imagination.”

Eliasson approached the château and gardens of Versailles as a site for experimentation, and all of the pieces exhibited were conceived specifically for the site. Other outdoor installations, where the theme is water, include Fog Assembly, which envelopes viewers in ring of mist, and Glacial Rock Flour Garden, introducing the residue of retracting glaciers to the grounds. Inside, mirrors and light are used to create effects and encourage visitor interaction, such as the piece titled Solar Compression, where a mirror glows with a thin rim of light, or The Curious Museum, where large-scale trompe l’oeil effects are created through reflections.

“The Versailles that I have been dreaming up is a place that empowers everyone,” said Eliasson. “It invites visitors to take control of the authorship of their experience instead of simply consuming and being dazzled by the grandeur.”

“It asks them to exercise their senses, to embrace the unexpected, to drift through the gardens, and to feel the landscape take shape through their movement.”

The exhibition is on display until October 30th, 2016, in Versailles, France.

More at: Olafur Elliason
Photos: Anders Sune Berg

Life House by John Pawson / Living Architecture

Life House by John Pawson

Life House by John Pawson

Life House by John Pawson

Amidst the rolling hills of the Welsh countryside, Living Architecture commissioned architect John Pawson to create a house of serenity and beauty – Life House (or Tŷ Bywyd, as it is called in Welsh). The house serves as a retreat that can sleep up to six people, with the architectural and design intention of contemplation and restoration for its guests.

John Pawson is a master of working within the parameters of landscape, ecology, and historic importance; his portfolio is filled with minimalist homes, boutiques, and even religious spaces. Working in collaboration with philosopher and writer, as well as the founder of Living Architecture, Alain de Botton, Pawson’s approach to Life House was an uncompromisingly modern design where it would be possible to inhabit a different sort of architectural space. Luxurious in its carefully executed simplicity, the house has been influenced by Japanese design, as well as the architecture of Benedictine monks. To further inspire mental awareness and tranquility, a sequence of walks have been curated the artist Hamish Fulton.

“In this house I wanted to create a modern, secular retreat, where guests can experience the benefits of introspection, solitude, and immersion in nature,” said Pawson.

Life House by John Pawson

Life House by John Pawson

Life House by John Pawson

From the handmade Danish bricks (black on the exterior, pale grey inside), to the polished terrazzo floor, and Douglas-fir ceilings, the house’s materials and finishes were chosen for their calming and clean nature.

Life House’s floorpan is organized around two corridors that meet at a right angle: one “dark,” leading to a chamber built into the hillside, a cavernous space designed for contemplation, the other, “light,” leads to an outdoor space where the exercise of purifying the mind is also encouraged. A combined kitchen, dining area, and lounge serve as the central hub, with a layout to satisfy both complete privacy, and when it is desired, sociability and communion.

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Tuve Hotel by Design Systems

Tuve Hotel by Design Systems

Tuve Hotel by Design Systems

Intended to be an escape from the bustle and chaos of Hong Kong, a discreet, signless entrance in the Tin Hau district guides you into a quiet experience, Tuve, by architecture firm Design Systems.

Inspired by photographer Kim Høltermand’s panoramas of Sweden’s Lake Tuve, the owner wanted to incorporate the mood of Scandinavian landscape to the 66-room boutique hotel. Design Systems thoughtfully translated the atmospheric, cold images to the space, making the best of natural, often common materials. As described by the firm: “We feel that the term luxury has much been vulgarized nowadays, rather, we prefer the term refinement. Refinement goes beyond the surface.”

Avoiding the cliches of exotic, over-the-top elements, Tuve keeps it simple and engages the visitors emotions. Materials such as concrete, galvanized steel, brass, and oak are familiar, but used appropriately and elegantly. Creative use of lighting throughout the spaces, both artificial and natural, reveals texture, casts shadows, and establishes a specific ambiance.

Tuve Hotel by Design Systems

Tuve Hotel by Design Systems

Tuve Hotel by Design Systems

Tuve Hotel by Design Systems

As the spaces are used, hidden craftsmanship is revealed, quietly interacting with the minimalist environment. From the pale wooden box that opens to a desk and minibar, to the door that folds from the side of the cabinet to store tea-making equipment. Stools are made from roughly hewn marble, and brass switch plates are left to oxidize, exposing the true nature of the material.

By sticking to the basics, and executing this with the ultimate finesse, Tuve sets itself apart in a way that challenges the typical hotel experience.

More at: Tuve
Photos: Matteo Carcelli, Design Systems.

Ion Hotel

Outside of Reykjavik, very close to the Unesco World Heritage Site Thingvellir National Park, sits Iceland’s Ion Hotel. Billing itself as an “adventure hotel” the Ion’s location makes it perfect for exploring Iceland’s otherworldly geography, with access to hot springs, glaciers, and a perfect vantage to view the Northern Lights.

Designed by Minarc, the hotel is built with a prefabricated panel system, that not only incorporates recycled materials, but is designed to maximize energy efficiency. The architecture is perfectly suited the the lava fields and stark surroundings, and its suspended-by-pillar construction is an homage to Iceland’s first settler, Ingólfr Arnarson, who, according to legend, en route to Iceland in the year 847, threw his pillars overboard and sailed to where the gods took him ashore.

Hot springs provide geothermal heating, and extensive use of natural light minimizes the need for artificial. With just 46 rooms, a restaurant, and a spa, the hotel is full-service, but with a disconnected, aligned-with-nature approach. In addition to its subdued external appearance, Minarc has thoughtfully incorporated natural materials throughout the hotel, such as recycled wood furniture, lamps made from lava and found-wood, and indigenous birch wood details; in the rooms, images of Icelandic animals stylishly and minimally serve as wall art.

An immersive position in Iceland’s visually arresting wilderness, paired with the luxuries of excellent design, local food, and hotel comforts work together to create an experience that is not only sure to encourage relaxation and health, but an exploratory admiration of nature’s wonders.

More at: Ion Hotel









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