Rone: The Omega Project

Australian street artist Rone transformed a condemned Melbourne house in haunting installation The Omega Project

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

We live in a time of constant churn, where old buildings are demolished to make way for the shiny and new. Capturing a moment of nostalgia, beauty and decay, Melbourne mural artist Rone has created The Omega Project, transforming the interior of a condemned weatherboard suburban house in the city's north with his signature wistful 'Jane Doe' female characters. Check out the space, open until Sunday 30 July, or tour its haunting rooms here, including an evocative video preserving the installation for posterity.

ABOVE: The Blue Room at Rone's Omega Project
BELOW: The Hallway

ABOVE: The Living Room

'This was an opportunity to recreate elements of a classic mid-century Australian home in its fragile final moments,' says Rone, 'drawing from memories of homes that I visited growing up, and of the many abandoned houses I have recently explored.' He leapt at the chance to celebrate the early 1900s home at the invitation of residential developer YarraBend, which will demolish this property by the end of the month. Inspired by the idea of a 'fantasy film set', Rone crafted murals for each room, using Taubmans paint to colour the blue bedroom and kitchen, green and mauve dining rooms, sepia living room and yellowed hallway. Stylist Carly Spooner curated the time capsule of dusty, mid-century Australiana ornaments and objects, from a wood-grain TV to figurines and retro phones, with one bedroom strewn with autumn leaves.

Doomed environments draw Rone, who previously memorialised the soon-to-be-demolished Star Lyric Theatre in Melbourne's Fitzroy with in-situ exhibition 'Empty' in 2016. He's also internationally known for his large-scale street art works, from London to New York and Hong Kong, and recently completed a huge portrait of a farming couple for Victoria's rural Silo Art Trail.

We love the video below of The Omega Project, a dreamy, bitter-sweet fragment of the melancholy interiors shot by Defero Productions for Rone's street art collective Everfresh Studio, set to music by Julia Stone. You can also see more sensual glimpses of the atmospheric house on Rone's Instagram feed, a fitting homage to lives lived and spaces lost...
r-o-n-e.com

The Omega Project is open for inspection at 28 Parkview Road, Alphington, 10 minutes' north of the Melbourne CBD, from 10am-5pm, until Sunday 30 July 2017.

Pictures: Tyrone Wright
 

In the pink at Normann Copenhagen

Normann Copenhagen's dramatic new Danish design showroom is soooo pretty in pink

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

2017's colour trend competition is already hotting up, with Pantone plumping for Greenery as their Color of the Year, and DesignFizz and other interiors experts predicting moody blues will reign. Danish design brand Normann Copenhagen shows there is a third way, picking wall-to-wall pink for their new Copenhagen showroom Gallery space. Following on from fashion trends, it's proof that pale, barely there nudes, beautiful blush hues, romantic rose, feisty fuchsia and hot pink can command attention, from monochrome-styled spaces to eye-catching furniture and accessories. 

ABOVE: Pink power rules in Normann Copenhagen's new Gallery space, below their flagship showroom in the Danish capital, taking over walls, floors and even the ceiling
ABOVE RIGHT: The brand's gorgeous 'Geo' storage jars by Nicholai Wiig Hansen include Blush hues
BELOW: Plush velvety pink-carpeted stairs lead down to the subterranean Gallery

Enter the recently revamped flagship showroom at Osterbrogade 70 and the ground-floor, set in an old cinema, is a vision of glamorous modernity, with a raw, industrial feel.  Oyster-grey walls meet a neutral palette of epoxy, brushed steel, terrazzo, reflective glass and glossy acrylic, with areas divided into a Hall, Stage and Ballroom. So far, so appealingly normal. In a twist worthy of Alice in Wonderland, though, a metal shaft leads from the middle of the showroom down into the lower Gallery space, and that's where the colour comes in. Cue 'pure pink pandemonium'.

ABOVE: A row of steel 'Cap' table lamps in Blush, by German duo KaschKasch, perch on pink plinths in the Gallery; Curated fashion items are displayed in a clear box; Tone-on-tone styling brings a blush to the cheeks of the 'Swell' armchair by Jonas Wagell

Plush pink carpet covers the stairs descending to the subterranean zone. A nude 'Swell' sofa stands in pride of place, surrounded by a pink harem of chairs and lights, perched on pink podiums and flanked by rosy columns. The effect is intended to be both beguilingly feminine and borderline disturbing, channeling the look and feel of a fleshy organism or bodily innards. A site-specific installation by Danish artist Nina Holmgren, entitled 'Fresh fools in a pool of pink salty tears' and including aquatic sounds and story fragments, adds more pink attitude, along with her curated playlists.

'We wanted to give visitors the feeling they're moving around in an art installation,' says Danish designer Hans Hornemann, who developed the concept of the new showroom alongside brand manager Britt Bonnesen. 'We've played with the contrast between warm and cold in a contemporary interior environment.' The Gallery aims to offer an experimental, artistic universe, that will host changing, transformative concepts.

ABOVE: Pink shopping opportunities at Normann Copenhagen include the 'Flip' mirror in Blush, extra large 'Nyhavn' vase in Plum, 'Nic Nac Organiser 2' container in Light Pink, 'Geo' vacuum jug in White, and small 'Circus' pouf in Blush velour
BELOW: Stairway from the pink Gallery back up to the neutral-hued main showroom, including pink floors and ceiling

Normann Copenhagen's showroom makeover was unveiled in late 2016, and will continue to evolve, with new looks coming to the Gallery. If you're passionate about on-trend pink you can shop the look, with a bunch of pink-hued products available from the creative Danish brand, including kitchen kit, desk storage, mirrors and poufs. And if wall-to-wall pink feels like overkill in your home, aim for a painted feature wall and accent details instead. 'With the right nuances and styling, pink can be very exclusive, classic and sophisticated,' says Bonnesen. 
normann-copenhagen.com

Normann Copenhagen's showroom is at Osterbrogade 70, Copenhagen, Denmark or shop the range online

MPavilion 2016

Indian architect Bijoy Jain brings handmade bamboo architecture to Melbourne's latest MPavilion

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

Melbourne's MPavilion series of temporary pavilions is always inspiring, with 2016's offering by Indian architect Bijoy Jain of Studio Mumbai demonstrating that there is still a place for natural materials in the 21st century. Formed from seven kilometres of bamboo, 26 kilometres of rope and 50 tonnes of stone, the 16.8 metre square summer pavilion represents traditional craft. 'I want it to be a symbol of the elemental nature of communal structures,' says Jain, 'A space to discover the essentials of the world and of one's self.'

ABOVE AND TOP: 2016's MPavilion in Melbourne is formed from sleek bamboo, rope and stone, with an adjacent entrance tower

Launched this October by the Naomi Milgrom Foundation, the pavilion is in Queen Victoria Gardens opposite NGV International. Check out the space while enjoying coffee by Three Thousand Thieves (daily, 9am–4pm), or take part in the free four-month programme of events, which spans design and architecture workshops and talks, live music and DJs, yoga and installations, films and fashion shows, kids' activities, dog walks and even a zombie dance class.

ABOVE FROM TOP: An opening in the square pavilion roof connects earth and sky; below it a golden well celebrates water within the paved, airy interior

In contrast to the contemporary, high-tech visions of the previous two annual pavilions – by Sean Godsell and Amanda Levete of AL_A – Studio Mumbai's calming, low-fi structure is part of an international movement championing handmade, human-centred architecture. Jain believes in 'lore', a body of traditional knowledge passed on by word of mouth. At Studio Mumbai this translates into working collaboratively with local artisans and craftspeople to design and build projects though an explorative, creative process. The result harnesses generations-old skills, building techniques and materials, and the ingenuity that arises from working with limited resources. The studio also aims to reflect each location, here the natural park setting, producing architecture 'that contains the life of its environment.'

ABOVE: Models and sketches contributed to the design development

Set on a bluestone floor, sourced from Victoria's Port Fairy, MPavilion features an opening in the centre of its roof to connect earth to sky. Below it sits a golden well symbolising water's vital status. Bamboo poles from India are pegged with wooden pins and lashed together with rope. Slatted roof panels hail from the karvi plant, with sticks woven together by Indian craftspeople. Beside the pavilion a 12-metre-high 'tazia' entrance tower, used in Indian ceremonies, provides a dynamic welcome. Lighting by Ben Cobham of Bluebottle transforms the pavilion at twilight in sync with a soundscape by artists Geoff Nees and J David Franzke.

ABOVE: Naomi Milgrom commissioned Indian architect Bijoy Jain of Studio Mumbai to create 2016's MPavilion

Popular throughout Asia as a building material, bamboo is still widely used as scaffolding even in cutting-edge cities such as Hong Kong. Earlier on the Fizz we shared Vietnamese architect Vo Trong Nghia's 'Green Ladder' bamboo installation, still on show at Sydney's Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, inspired by the eco-friendly potential of this 'green steel'. Ilse Crawford's 2016 'Viktigt' collection for IKEA also celebrated bamboo as a flexible, eco-chic material for furniture and homewares. 2016's MPavilion proves nature and architecture can walk hand in hand – the perfect match for summer...
mpavilion.org
MPavilion is at Queen Victoria Gardens, Melbourne until 18 February 2017

Pictures: John Gollings; models and sketches, Studio Mumbai

Serpentine Pavilion 2016

London's 2016 Serpentine Pavilion unzipped! A triumph of materials and form, Bjarke Ingels' intriguing design is accompanied by four startling Summer Houses

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

It wouldn't be summer in London without the annual unveiling of the Serpentine Pavilion, bringing cutting-edge modern architecture to Kensington Gardens beside the Serpentine Gallery. 2016's Serpentine Architecture Programme sees Denmark's Bjarke Ingels take centre stage with a jaw-dropping pavilion inspired by an 'unzipped wall'. Whereas 2015's pavilion by Spain's SelgasCano was all about psychedelic colour, Ingels' creation explores poetic material form.

Design fans can also explore four accompanying Summer Houses by international talents – Asif Khan, Kunlé Adeyemi, Barkow Leibinger and Yona Friedman – as part of an expanded offering for the 16th edition, on show until 9 October 2016. All riff on Queen Caroline's Temple, a classical 1734 summer house by William Kent a skip from the gallery. What's more, each temporary structure showcases an architect who has never built in the UK before.

ABOVE: Serpentine Pavilion 2016 by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)
ABOVE RIGHT: Danish architect Bjarke Ingels in front of his pavilion
BELOW: An 'unzipped wall', Ingels' pavilion is formed from stacked, sculptural fibreglass frames with an inviting chamber within 

SERPENTINE PAVILION
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)

Transforming a straight line into a three-dimensional space, Copenhagen/New York-based Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)'s Serpentine Pavilion takes its cue from an 'unzipped wall'. The cavity within becomes a dramatic space for a daytime cafe, events and the Park Nights cultural programme, while the elegant spire above acts as a cathedral-like beacon. It's simultaneously cubic and curvy, chunky and translucent, geometric and ethereal, or as Ingels puts it: 'A structure that is freeform yet rigorous, modular yet sculptural, both transparent and opaque, both solid box and blob.'

Borrowing its structure from a basic brick wall, it is formed from fibreglass frames rather than clay bricks or stone blocks, with the wall then pulled apart to reveal the cave-like interior. 'This unzipping of the wall turns the line into a surface, transforming the wall into a space,' says Ingels. The effect is part valley, part hillside, setting up seductive repetitions and undulations via waves of component blocks, harnessing graphic light and shade. Inspiring recent projects by BIG include 2 World Trade Center in New York and the Danish National Maritime Museum.
 

SERPENTINE SUMMER HOUSES

Asif Khan
Up-and-coming London architect Asif Khan discovered that the original Queen Caroline's Temple was positioned to catch the sunlight from the nearby Serpentine Lake, as well as the rising sun on the queen's birthday, and aims to recapture that combination in his delicate Serpentine Summer House. A sinuous circle of white timber staves, its circumference has been unpeeled, allowing changing views of the temple. A polished mirrored platform and roof inside amplify the experience. Khan's past work includes the colourful Coca-Cola Beatbox Pavilion at the London Olympics and Littlehampton's contemporary West Beach Cafe.


Kunlé Adeyemi
Kunlé Adeyemi (head of Amsterdam/Lagos practice NLÉ) offers an inverse, rotated replica of Queen Caroline's Temple for his Serpentine Summer House, turning its robust form into a reimagined sculptural installation. Shelter and relaxation is still the name of the game, with rough, prefabricated sandstone building blocks forming a room, doorway and window for visitors to interact with the space and each other. While the sandstone is similar to the temple's materials, the interior surfaces are softer. Adeyemi's combination of carved-out void, homely interior and fragmented furniture blocks offers a deconstructed, playful temple for the 21st century. If you love it check out his prototype Makoko Floating School designed for a Lagos lagoon.


Barkow Leibinger
Barkow Leibinger (Berlin/New York) took inspiration from another, extinct 18th-century pavilion by William Kent, on a man-made hill near the gallery, which rotated and offered 360-degree views of the park. At some point it disappeared, until this 2016 Summer House in-the-round paid homage to the original. Open to its surroundings, it looks like a ribbon, thanks to its undulating structural band of plywood on a steel frame. Loopy but lovely, it's somewhere to see and be seen.


Yona Friedman
A squiggly modular design that can be arranged in different formations, Parisian veteran Yona Friedman's Summer House picks up on his pioneering late 1950s project La Ville Spatiale (Spatial City). A space-chain structure, representing a fragment of a larger grid, it explores mobile architecture using elevated space to save on land footprint (vital for growing cities). It also encourages customisable spaces, allowing residents to define their own modular homes – a future-forward vision by this 93-year-old visionary.

BELOW: The original, classical Queen Caroline's Temple by William Kent, inspiration for all four summer houses

www.serpentinegalleries.org
The Serpentine Pavilion is open daily (free entry), 10am-6pm, until 9 October 2016 at the Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, London W2 (closed 6 July until 1pm 7 July). Event programme Park Nights runs until 23 September 2016. 

Photos by Iwan Baan; Queen Caroline's Temple photo by Garry Knight

2015 Summer Architecture Commission – John Wardle Architects

Pretty in pink! Melbourne's National Gallery of Victoria unveils a futuristic fuchsia pavilion for summer...

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

With summer approaching in the southern hemisphere, it's the season for perky, pleasing alfresco pavilions. Luckily, Melbourne's John Wardle Architects (JWA) has channelled the zeitgeist, unveiling a soaring, nine-metre-high pink pavilion commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria today. Designed and made in Melbourne, the ephemeral space will host parties, live music performances, talks, workshops, children's activities and picnics over spring and summer, offering a theatrical centrepiece and shady retreat by day, and a striking glow by night.

Adorned with 1,350 hand-folded fuchsia-coloured blooms, the 2015 Summer Architecture Commission pavilion was inspired by the sweeping lines and airy form of the city's 1959-designed Sidney Myer Music Bowl ('an iconic Melbourne building that is an amazing, graceful, exuberant and incredibly innovative piece of civic design of that era', according to JWA). The new pavilion is intended to envelop visitors in rosy, kaleidoscopic pink light as they stand under the 18-metre-wide translucent canopy, formed from origami-like polypropylene (a sustainable, recyclable, eco-friendly material used in Australia's polymer bank notes).

Teaming a low-tech timber frame with a high-tech layer of precision-cut steel, it blends the handmade and the digital, with individually suspended 3D pink polypropylene elements creating its seductive skin. Its open-sided shape – lifting dramatically on high arches – suggests easy, breezy living, but behind the scenes smart 3D modelling and cutting-edge engineering and fabrication make the magic happen. 'Similar to the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, a high level of engineering sophistication and material specificity is integral to the design in order to delicately balance the duality of span and strength,' says John Wardle. 'We also asked ourselves could it be disassembled and reassembled? Could it provide for other uses?'

The pavilion is part of a new annual NGV project which sees emerging and established architects and designers invited to create a cutting-edge installation or temporary structure for the gallery, to display in the NGV International's Grollo Equiset Garden. So think pink and check it out...
ngv.vic.gov.au

The 2015 Summer Architecture Commission: John Wardle Architects is at the NGV International, Melbourne, from 24 September 2015 to 1 May 2016. Open daily 10am-5pm, free entry.