Design Miami/ is collaborating with FENDI by staging ‘Design Vertigo’, a series of site-specific installations that invite the public to look at design from a vanguard perspective. The joint partnership represents a shared vision of exploring how people see, approach and interact with design, and to continue presenting exhibitions that support young talent. ‘Design Vertigo’ is conceived to transform Spazio FENDI into a transgressive design theater, featuring a new commission from distinguished Swiss artist Felice Varini, along with new work by three emerging studios practicing between the boundaries of traditional design disciplines: rAndom International, Graham Hudson and Beta Tank. The first installation, “Elisse nel trapezio,” created by Varini, will be an anamorphic perspective painting. What appears to be a chaotic jumble of lines and shapes on first glance will resolve into an orderly composition when visitors view the work from a specific vantage point. For decades, Varini has been capturing the imagination of audiences around the world with site-specific works that employ traditional painting techniques to engage the architecture of public and private spaces in extraordinary ways. Through Design Vertigo, Varini’s work will be placed in dialogue with contemporary design practice and act as a metaphor for contemporary design culture. Varini is known for his geometric perspective-localized paintings using projector-stencil techniques. He paints on architectural and urban spaces, such as buildings, walls and streets. rAndom International’s interactive light installation features an LED light wall. This work of ‘functionless’ design will invite visitors to play, confounding visitors’ perception of motion and depth as it reacts to their movements. Stuart Wood, Flo Ortkrass and Hannes Koch founded the London-based collective rAndom International with a vision to create engaging and experimental art and design projects. Working within the frontiers of innovation across science, art and design, rAndom International has developed a series of increasingly experimental installations that aim to re-interpret the ‘cold’ nature of digital-based work by providing the viewer with the opportunity to have a more hands-on and aesthetic experience with technology. The next Design Vertigo experience will be a multi-story ‘material’ construction created by emerging sculptor Graham Hudson – whose work can be viewed simultaneously as architecture, furniture and sculpture, and has been presented within both art and design contexts as creations that are both functional and functionless. Entitled, “An insignificant extension in space and a considerable extension in time” – suspended mannequins, portraying perched ladies, donning vintage FENDI furs, previously worn by the likes of Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow in famous films, provide an elegantly random quality to the proceedings, as glimpsed from a theater box structure fabricated from scaffolding components – which acts as both an observation deck and a site for chance social encounters. Part participatory sculpture, part industrial craft, this hybrid work provides an unusual, yet elegant setting, that gives a performance art quality to the entire project that further encourages visitor participation – allowing visitors to climb into it, get a drink at the bar and view the happenings at Spazio FENDI from different vantage points above the exhibition floor. Graham Hudson’s work operates across sculpture, architecture and design, producing both objects and installations in a variety of media. Recent solo exhibitions include ZINGERpresents, Amsterdam (2010) and Monitor, Rome (2009). Design Vertigo visitors will end their journey through Spazio FENDI amid an immersive total environment designed by Berlin-based studio Beta Tank. This relational social space – “Beta Space” – represents the next evolution in the studio’s playful engagement with the neuro-scientific fields of sensory substitution and experimental technology. Furnished with mind-bending optical patterns and illusions that wrap the walls and floors along with various psychedelic props and characters, this astonishing installation is intended to encourage a lively and fun experience in celebration of human perception, social interaction and an ever-widening definition of design. Founded by Michele Gauler and Eyal Burstein, Beta Tank translates complex social and technological issues into easily understood objects and services. Their projects develop from a deep interest in how humans adapt to progress in their everyday lives. “We felt that the time was right to present a project that shines a light on new work being created today outside of traditional definitions and that is borne of unpredictable collaborations and intersections between creative fields,” comments Design Miami/ Director, Ambra Medda. “While we may not know where this creative explosion is leading us, we’re excited to be a part of this highly productive moment when people are more open-minded and creatives are empowered, not constrained, by history.”
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