German sculptor and photographer Thomas Demand is known for creating disturbing hyperrealities, and now he’s channeling that vision into his first-ever building, a collaboration with Caruso St. John Architects.
Naturally, Demand didn’t settle for a striking structure. The artist has transformed three everyday objects – a sheet of legal paper, a paper plate and an American soda cap – into three habitable spaces in the dunes of Denmark.
The building, titled Triple Madness, is a Gesamtkunstwerk that “unites different forms of art, design and craftsmanship to create a cohesive whole,” according to a statement from Kvadrat, the high-end textile brand that commissioned it. The structure will serve as a hospitality and conference venue on the dunes surrounding the company’s headquarters in Ebeltoft.
The artist designed the work after thinking about tents, a common human application of the types of goods that Kvadrat makes. Later it came to be the image of a pavilion – a tent large enough to accommodate crowds, and usually a sign of upcoming festivities. The paper elements stem from Demand’s own practice of constructing sculptures from cardboard and paper, then photographing and destroying them, exploring the longevity of symbols.
Demand worked closely with the team at Caruso St. John, the same architecture firm that won the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2016 for the design of the Newport Street Gallery and represented Britain at the Biennale of Art. architecture in 2018. In addition to collaborating to bring mundane paper objects to life on a monumental scale, the team also designed interior details including surfaces, furniture and even door handles.
Ultimately, Demand and his associates transformed the legal document into “a folded yellow and black ‘sheet of paper’ washed out of translucent fiberglass,” which will serve as meeting space at Kvadrat’s headquarters, the statement said.
They also translated the paper plate into fiberglass, creating “a shaped sheet held above a cylindrical volume by thin columns” to house a kitchen and dining area. “Each volume has its own entrance, leaving visitors to experience the dialogue between art and architecture as they see fit.”
The soda jerk hat has become “an elliptical volume made of [a] welded fiberglass plate rising from the coastal landscape. Not only does the hat provide lounge space, it also serves as a roof over a textile work by Rosemarie Trockel titled Yes, but, which gives the room acoustic comfort. (Kvadrat has owned the Trockel artwork since 2006.)
Demand’s collaboration with the company joins installations by Olafur Eliasson and Roman Signer on a sandy perch overlooking the sea.
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