On the occasion of the recent opening of the new COS store on Zurich Bahnhofstrasse, the brand’s presence at Design Miami and their collaboration with London-based design duo Studio Swine, I sit down with the designers Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves and talk about their latest art installation, “New Spring”.
The second version of New Spring builds up on New Spring für die Salone del Mobile. In what terms have the surroundings influenced the main installation? Will the off-white colour of the installation remain as it is?
The design of the sculpture changed in that it was created larger for the Temple House space, more branches came down in an additional tier. The greatest change however was the feel of the piece within the light filled Art Deco environment, the bubbles burst on the floor to create a low mist.
What materials have been used for the construction of the structure?
Aluminium Scaffold tubes.
What are the bubbles/ blossoms made out from?
Bubble solution, mist, air.
What has been so far your experience in working with COS and what have been your key learnings/ takeaways? How much creative freedom was given?
We were given total artistic freedom and wanted to respond to shared beliefs that we both hold: Tactility, Modernity, Timelessness and Simplicity. Through this we learnt a lot about creating the maximum effect with a minimal aesthetic.
A new inflatable sculpture will be featured on the roof-top pool of Temple House. What is the relation of this sculpture to the main installation? What is it all about?
In the process of creating New Spring we studied the structures bubbles make and their perfect geometry. We created an inflatable using the physical laws bubbles compile to when they join to create a foam. Bubbles are everywhere in nature and we particularly like the bubbles on the sea as it foams, the sound of a wave crashing is actually the sound of billions of micro bubbles bursting. We created this frosted inflatable sculpture to make a connection to the sea nearby on Miami Beach.
What has been the most undesirable object you have ever transformed into something “desirable.” If you could name one example in this case, what would it be and where/ when?
Sea plastic has been the most undesirable, when you collect it from the ocean or beach it comes with a lot of other detritus, organic decaying matter from the sea. So it requires a lot of cleaning and sorting but all the difficulty of collecting it at sea and the laborious preparation makes us really value it and from the extremes of the ocean it seems quite exotic and precious. We worked really hard at making a material with it that had a heavy, rock like appearance that was different in look and feeling to the disposable plastics from which is originated (https://www.studioswine.com/work/sea-chair/).
Swine stands for ‘Super Wide Interdisciplinary New Explorers’. Andy Warhol also worked interdisciplinary: He worked in film, photography, illustration and installation. Is there an area you would like to explore more?
We are really interested in developing more multi-sensory installations and creating more evocative interior environments.
What has driven the fusion of art and design for you? Could you name any artists (living or deceased) whose work, projects, philosophy inspires you?
Warhol is definitely one, particularly his writings and films.
Ray and Charles Eames, their films which document vernacular design and communicate science and maths in really engaging joyful ways.
Isamu Noguchi, his sculpture, product design and stage sets.
What does take to straddle both “worlds” art & design worlds successfully?
We really don’t think about the discipline, we don’t ask ourselves ‘is this art or design?’. We ask ourselves ‘Is this interesting? Is it relevant to our times and also have a enduring appeal beyond that? How can we improve the experience and create something both effective and unfinished enough to allow for interpretation. We think that great works transcend their discipline so we strive to achieve that.
The new COS store:
Bahnhofstrasse 53, 8001 Zürich
Thanks for reading!