Presented in Venice by Lisson Gallery on the occasion of the 14th International Architecture Biennale and produced with Berengo Studio is Genius Loci, an exhibition of sculpture and installation that goes beyond the museum or gallery space, addressing instead the complex spheres of the public realm and the built environment. By existing beyond the walls, public art can help defne the character of its location, either functioning harmoniously or in dialogue with the architecture or landscape it inhabits. As experienced commissioners of large-scale contemporary art, curators from the Lisson Gallery, in association with Berengo Studio, are displaying a range of major pieces by 19 artists, both inside and outside the historic Venetian Palazzo Franchetti. The show includes models, sculptures, drawings and projects by Spencer Finch, Anish Kapoor, Ai Weiwei, Daniel Buren, Lawrence Weiner, Shirazeh Houshiary and Lee Ufan, among others, all of whom have made signifcant contributions to art in the public domain through works that challenge, complement or elucidate their surroundings. In turn, these proposals, situations and sculptures – some unrealised, some temporary, some permanent – should allow us to better appreciate, contemplate and understand the world around us. 'Genius Loci – Spirit of Place,' co-produced by Lisson Gallery and Berengo Studio, is on view until November 23rd at Palazzo Franchetti, Venice. Text Lisson Gallery and photo Ken Adlard
Just five years after his arrival in 1920 to Los Angeles from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Chicago office, architect R.M. Schindler completed the How House for Dr. James How, a psychotherapist who had moved from St. Louis to Los Angeles. The interlocking volumes, cubic form, and repeating geometric lines of the How House demonstrate the close relationship of the origins of Southern California modernism to the work of European architects, such as Adolf Loos and J.J.P Oud. Schindler felt that the location of the house on a ridge blocked the natural vista, and thus he blended the How House with the landscape by pushing vertically up from the ridge and extending horizontally out with multiple terraces, including a roof terrace. Due to the ridge’s steep grade, the house required a limited footprint, which Schindler approached by creating two separate geometric portions, the upper in California redwood battens stained green-grey to match the existing eucalyptus trees on the site and the lower in “slab-cast” concrete that was horizontally scored to visually unite the two materials. This geometry not only defines the exterior of the structure, with its horizontal battens and vertical rise from the hillside, but also its interior forms which layer upon one another at opposing right angles, clerestory windows, varying ceiling heights, a characteristic wrapping wall plate at door head height, and a continuous pattern of horizontal lines. A double-winged entry at street level leads to a piano nobile featuring a living room, dining room, and study, which rests above the lower-level bedrooms. Two large outlook corner windows in the living room create a diagonal bilateral flow, and offer views of the urban basin towards the west and the Los Angeles River to the east. Interior glass partitions framed in wood connect interior spaces with one another to offer open views throughout the house to exterior spaces, and a skylight on the living room terrace gives natural light to an otherwise dark downstairs corridor. Photo Jessie Askinazi
The staircase at the Hotel Hermitage Monte-Carlo, Monaco. Photo Olivier Zahm
The Villa Savoye is considered by many to be the seminal work of the Swiss architect Le Corbusier. Situated at Poissy, outside of Paris, it is an iconic architectural example of early modernism, the so-called International Style. The house addressed "The Five Points", Le Corbusier's basic tenets of a new aesthetic of architecture:
1/ Support of ground-level pilotis, elevating the building from the earth and allowed an extended continuity of the garden beneath.
2/ Functional roof, serving as a garden and terrace, reclaiming for nature the land occupied by the building.
3/ Free floor plan, relieved of load-bearing walls, allowing walls to be placed freely and only where aesthetically needed.
4/ Long horizontal windows, providing illumination and ventilation.
5/ Freely-designed facades, serving only as a skin of the wall and windows and unconstrained by load-bearing considerations.
Photo Anna-Sophie Berger
The Rockefeller Center at night, New York. Photo Olivier Zahm