In the context of the exhibition "TRACES OF CENTURIES AND FUTURE STEPS" at this year's Biennale in Venice, 3deluxe are showing an imaginative wall relief which reflects aspects of the transdisciplinary office's design cosmos: symbiotic architectures, surreal interiors and picturesque buildings evolving from graphic spatial structures; nature in the form of persistent plants and roaming mountain goats, capturing space within reef-like, seemlingly grown high-rise structures. With this dense wall collage, 3deluxe are exploring new aesthetic possibilities of architecture within the suspenseful thematic framework of nature and artificiality.
“Architecture today is construed on the basis of economic, structural and functional principles. We are fighting a tough battle with reality. And if anything that deserves to be considered art gets thrown into the equation, then we have no doubt been extremely lucky in life.”
Since the 1990s, the team of designers at German company 3deluxe has been combining design, architecture and art in its work. The designers’ interdisciplinary mind set and practice translates into an open attitude to processes of social and cultural change, which they consider an important source of inspiration. Accordingly, 3deluxe likewise regards design as an evolving system that continually spawns new forms of perception and scope for interpretation. In this context the search for contemporary shapes that express beauty in the sense of a quality of design, which is independent from its function and therefore emotionally accessible, is immensely important. In an environment of on-going social change one anthropological constant is our striving for beauty.
“Beauty has a community-forming function. In the pleasure taken in certain things, people with the same taste feel united.”
It is only logical that we immerse ourselves in the ornament, which has been passed down across time as a means of expressing beauty that is comprehensible to all cultures. 3deluxe has formulated a modern version of ornamentation that emerges in a myriad of manifestations and is realised using a range of different media. The spectrum extends from the designed object per se (be it in parts or in its entirety) to immaterial, digitally produced ornaments in the shape of projections or light in motion. Thanks to its symbolic nature the ornament is able to spark unconventional approaches, demonstrate new perspectives in design and, finally, draw our attention to trends in society.
Among other things, 3deluxe has for many years explored the relationship between the natural and the artificial. It is fair to say that the first decade of the new millennium was predominantly about rendering techniques and the impact the virtual world had on design, in other words, the pendulum was swinging more towards artificiality. Today real nature and authenticity are playing a major role on the international stage of architecture and design.
3deluxe’s contribution to the 2012 Architecture Biennial reflects these past and present approaches to design in two ways: On the one hand, the team assigns principles of vibrancy, such as self-organisation or symbiosis, to architecture and interior design. On the other, it uses natural items with an ornamentation that is almost quaint in its appearance as mediators between techno-form and biomorphic design strategies.
For the exhibition “TRACES OF CENTURIES & FUTURE STEPS” 3deluxe created a large-size mural which, blending elements of collage and relief, shines a light on the studio’s design cosmos. In its overall graphic effect the piece makes reference to historical tapisseries or frescoes, thus establishing a link to the exhibition venue: the 15th-century Venetian-Byzantine Palazzo Bembo. Studying the work in detail will reveal some surreal architectural designs, which – freed from the pragmatic constraints inherent to the everyday of the construction world – seek to explore new aesthetic trends in building culture.
For the three-dimensional wall relief in the historic Palazzo Bembo from the 15th century, 3deluxe are experimenting with printing white, partially back-milled acrylic stone. The artprint of the motif has an astonishing, distinct intensity and a surface very fine to the touch. However, in its materiality, it takes up the second part of the exhibition title, “FUTURE STEPS”: A facing panel has been placed in front of the historic wall of the Palazzo, on which the HI-MACS® solid surface panels printed with futuristic architectural fragments and technoform patterns has been mounted.
The surface of the mineral material panels is partial shaped based on the graphical artwork. This shows the easy fabrication of the material. The work plays around two historic doors, thereby enhancing even further the contrast between exhibit and exhibition building. Between the doors at eye-level is a 2.90m long continuous block of acrylic stone, which shows a triptych of futuristic architectural visions.