Milan 2018 – “I wanted to bring the sky down to the ground” says Phillip K. Smith III to Archipanic. The American artist created Open Sky, a large-scale sculptural installation for London-based fashion brand COS within the courtyard of Palazzo Isimbardi. A mirrored structure embraces visitors meshing the sky and the Renaissance architecture of the building to create unique personal experiences for each visitor.
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‘My work is inspired by the constant shifts in light, colour, and form that are presented in the natural and built environment. It was exciting to work with COS on an open brief within the inspiring architectural landscape of Milan.” Explains Phillip K. Smith III. “The specific site conditions of Palazzo Isimbardi afforded me an opportunity to reframe the historic architecture while meshing it with the enveloping beauty of the Milanese sky.”
Upon entry into the courtyard, one is faced with the tactile, yet abstract presence of the immense, circular form. Moving through the colonnade to the far side of the courtyard, the Palazzo’s 16th century architecture is seen angularly reconfigured across the faceted, reflective surface.
Approaching the centre of the installation, the angle of reflection shifts and the architecture dynamically pulls away like a curtain, opening up the sky. At the centre, one is fully encircled by the sublime, slowly paced physicality of the sky’s.
“While the installation will certainly create an overall shared group experience, each person will also leave the Palazzo with their own unique experience… unique to the time of day, to the specifics of the sky at that moment, and dependent entirely on their path of experience. Each participant is in control of how the sky and architecture merge across the nearly 14 metre diameter surface.”
Moving through the courtyard and into the Palazzo’s adjoining English garden, visitors find five freestanding sculptures with both horizontally and vertically folded reflective skins that use the greenery and trees of the garden, the surrounding architecture and the sky overhead as visible material.
The installation marks COS’s 7th consecutive installation during Salone del Mobile and its first collaboration with Phillip K. Smith III. All the previous installations were developed in collaboration with international architects and artists including Sou Fujimoto and Studio Swine.
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Open Sky will be open to the public from 17th – 22nd April 2018 at Palazzo Isimbardi, Corso Monforte 35, 20122 Milan, a historic building dating from the 16th century. Opening Hours: 10.00 – 20.00 on 17th April; 10.00 – 17.00 on 18th and 19th April; 10.00 – 20.00 on 20th, 21st, 22nd April.