Presented by Audemars Piguet and the Peabody Essex Museum // Art Basel Miami Beach
As part of the official Art Basel Miami Beach 2014 global partnership program, Studio Sebastien Leon was commissioned to design the exhibition Strandbeest, the Dream Machines of Theo Jansen, presented by Audemars Piguet and the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM).
From 3-7 December 2014, a clutch of Strandbeests, each with unique characteristics and histories, inhabited a prominent stretch of the beach in Miami Beach. Daily, visitors were able to meet Jansen as he led his larger-than-life, wind-powered creatures in demonstrations along the beach. An accompanying installation featured Jansen’s newest Strandbeests, including the 42-foot-long Animaris Suspendisse, as well as a reproduction of Theo Jansen’s workshop on the beach and an exhibition of Lena Herzog’s photographs of the Strandbeests.
Jansen’s renaissance imagination roams freely between the realms of art and science. Possessing an uncanny life-like locomotion, his Strandbeests (“beach animals”) are intricately constructed from PVC tubes, which Jansen refers to as his “artistic protein.” Through 25 years of experimentation and development on the Dutch seacoast, Jansen’s Strandbeests have evolved from rudimentary structures to complex creatures that are able to autonomously respond to environmental conditions by storing wind power, changing direction when they sense water and anchoring themselves during oncoming storms. Each year, Jansen increases the capacity of his Strandbeests to interact and adapt, clearing new hurdles for their sustained survival on the beach.
Commissioned by MA3 Agency
Photography by Remy Amezcua ©
The Strandbeests Arrive at Art Basel | The New York Times | Produced by Bill Morrison
Haixinsha Island, Guangzhou (China)
At the occasion of the Innovation Exhibition taking place in December 2013 on Haixinsha Island in the heart of Guangzhou (China), Marc Hungerbuhler from the Artist Network and German car manufacturer Audi A.G. commissioned Formavision to create an installation celebrating the relentless innovations of Audi in particular relating to the extra-light weight technology.
We filled a spherical room fifteen meters in diameter with over a thousand silver foil balloons, some filled with air and others with helium, all reflecting a hypnotic image of the car, the room and its visitors. Floating on the ceiling, fifteen wireless speakers play an electronic symphonic dialogue of filtered industrial sounds mixed with the songs of thirty different birds.
The installation is based on Sufi poet Farid ud-Din Attar’s series of poems called “The Conference of the Birds.” Written in 1177, these poems tell the tale of thirty birds who embark on a long journey in order to elect a King. Their perilous flight takes them from Persia to China with the goal of finding the Simorgh - the Chinese Phoenix - supposed to embody the most accomplished of the birds. After painfully crossing the seven initiatic valleys of yearning, love, gnosis, detachment, unity of God, bewilderment and selflessness, they finally reach the land of the Simorgh. Upon arrival, they find only a quiet lake with no sign of the mythical bird. Approaching the lake and looking down, they see their own reflections and come to realize that God is simply within them, that they hold their own destinies in their hands.
The poems of Farid ud-Din Attar embody Audi’s constant drive for fine-tuning existing technologies and introducing radical innovations. The concept is also directed towards the Chinese audience of Guangzhou itself, which, as a manufacturing center of the world, has a strong impact on the balance between the earth and the industry.
Formavision’s installation hence acts as a meditative dialogue between Audi A.G. and its Chinese clientele, provoking a reflection on the balance between industrial development and the environment, as well as the role we play as individuals in this fine symbiosis.
Commissioned by the Artist Network
Plaza Athénée, Paris
For the third edition of "Krug en Capitale", prestigious Champagne house Krug has invited Formavision to stage a series of fourteen dinners pairing an unexpected Parisian location, an awarded chef, a designer and musician. Formavision partnered with thrice three-star Alain Ducasse chef, rare-instrument musician Loup Barrow, the mythical Plaza Athénée while closed for a full renovation and multi-disciplinary artist Sebastien Leon to craft a memorable experience.
The evening started with a performance of Cristal Baschet and steel guitar, taking guests to a musical journey in vast American desert landscapes, while observing the sun set on the Eiffel Tower. The happy few were then taken to a dining room imagined by Sebastien Leon with seating and tables designed for the occasion. The dinner, entirely composed by Alain Ducasse, underscored at every stage the rich notes of carefully picked Krug Champagnes.
To conclude the evening, guests were invited to the rooftop of the hotel where they discovered the Carileon, a sound sculpture operating on two levels; while the wind swang the tubes against the balls and played clear sounds, the tubes were also played with felt mallets by Loup Barrow creating soft melodies. These two musical dimensions allowed to hear a seamless melody played in part by the wind, and in part by the musician.
Commissioned by ADM
New York, Paris, Milan, Singapore, Geneva, Beijing, Hong Kong, Basel, Miami
Invited by Audemars Piguet to curate and design the 40-year anniversary exhibition of the Royal Oak watch, Formavision designed and curated a traveling exhibition using design, photography, music and video to showcase one hundred exceptional timepieces and underscore the Manufacture's heritage and craft. In addition to sound sculptures by Sebastien Leon, Formavision brought along video artist Davide Quayola and photographer Dan Holdsworth to contribute to the exhibition's vision by each producing work about the origins of Audemars Piguet.
The core of the exhibition was made to resemble a fragmented mineral rock typically found in the Vallée de Joux in the Swiss Jura and symbolizing Audemars Piguet. The angular and multi-faceted exterior of each of the fragments and its dark reflective metal surface inspired by the geometric Royal Oak design created a natural contrast with the wooden interior which reflects Audemars Piguet’s long tradition and humble origins.
The Royal Oak 40-year anniversary tour was developed and orchestrated in collaboration with MA3 Agency and toured from New York (Park Avenue Armory) to Paris (Palais de Tokyo), Milan (Palazzo della Triennale), Beijing (UCCA), Geneva (Arena) and Singapore (the abandoned Tanjong Pagar train station). It continued its journey to Art Basel Hong Kong, Basel and Miami in 2013 as part of the official Art Basel fairs.
Commissioned by MA3 Agency
The Diesel Denim Galleries are concept stores positioned between retail spaces and art galleries. Located in New York, Osaka and Tokyo, they link Diesel to the contemporary art world through bimonthly installations, while offering the best of their collection. Diesel's involvement in contemporary art always seemed to us like second nature.
From 2003 to 2008, Formavision curated over thirty solo and group exhibitions at the Diesel Denim Gallery, collaborating with over a hundred international artists including Banksy, Faile, Jerszy Seymour, Jaime Hayon and Korban Flaubert. The Denim Gallery has been an ideal platform to showcase the genuine, courageous and ambitious contribution of Diesel to the contemporary art scene.
"The keystone of the Diesel brand is to support new talent in music, fashion, or art. The Diesel Denim Gallery concept store enables us to reinforce our support by providing the perfect milieu to display the works of artists alongside the jewel of our brand, Diesel Denim Gallery," Renzo Rosso, Diesel Founder.
To conceive and develop the Reebok's first concept store located on Bowery Street in New York, we took inspiration from Vorticsim, an English arts movement from the early 20th century noted for its dynamic interpretation of Cubist and Futurist principles. Combining Vorticism's vibrant aesthetic with an assortment of cultural cues ranging from Purple Rain to Miami Vice, Flash Dance to Thriller, we sought to capture the pop spirit of the 80s.
"The design of the space plays with the sense of depth and perspective, tricking the eye by extending three dimensional shapes into distorted graphic patterns, a camouflaging technique reminiscent of the Royal Navy's dazzle ship graphics from the First World War. Our intent was to provoke and perhaps confound visitors by making them feel as if they are stepping into a print rather than a store", Sebastien Leon Agneessens.
Commissioned by Syndicate Media Group
Invited to design the New York showroom for French fashion designers Marithé+François Girbaud, Formavision reproduced photographs of an abandoned Parisian interior from the Haussmann era onto wallpaper, quite literally bringing Paris to New York. The space was completed with French parquet, musical instruments and second-hand furniture.
Commissioned by MA3 Agency
French duo Marithé and François Girbaud are early visionairies of fashion design, rethinking shapes, functions, revolutionizing manufacturing techniques and treating communication campaigns as reflections of our society.
The Construkt Series celebrates the decade-long tradition of fashion and fabric innovations of the successful French duo, through quarterly releases of limited-edition design objects created by some of today's best product designers and exclusively offered for sale at their New York flagship store, in Soho.
"Culture and consumerism can work together. I want to give something more to our customers," François Girbaud.
"These collaborations speak about the values of the brand – movement, experimentation, social awareness, sophistication. Through them, I hope that people will see Girbaud's innovations with a fresh eye," Sebastien Leon Agneessens.
Commissioned by Reflex Group
Governor's Island, New York
Repairing instead of recycling, knitting a carpet with six foot long needles using wool from three kinds of Dutch sheep, elderly people slowly but attentively serving meals with smaller portions of foods from far away places and larger portions of those from nearby gardens, Dutch fashion designers collaborating with Native American bead masters and local lace makers together with students from Parsons The New School for Design, designers digging in local grounds to reveal differences in color and texture, movies about urban farming focused on New York, and left-over building materials collected over a month in New York available for creative re-use.
Pioneers of Change, curated by Droog Design and orchestrated by the Dutch Consulate with Formavision, encourages a more responsible and sustainable approach to living. The event celebrates the blurring of low- and high-brow, establishing new collaborations, encouraging involvement and valuing handcraft and the local context.
New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago
For the launch of their new Sedan 460 LS, Lexus commissioned us to create a nomadic art installation that traveled to New York, Miami, Los Angeles and Chicago. We called the traveling gallery "460 Degrees Gallery" and the exhibition "Light And Speed."
The high degree of technological sophistication and comfort offered in today's finest automobiles creates a strong degree of symbiosis between men and machines. As in the case of the new Lexus 460, the driving experience has become so smooth, fluid and experience-centered that drivers perceive their cars as extensions of themselves, transforming the driving experience into a mental voyage performed without moving. "Light and Speed" showcased the works of three international artists, Miranda Lichtenstein, Pascual Sisto and Arne Quinze, whose works deal with this topic.
"To gain insight into the car's target demographic, we did extensive market research, looking for areas of personal interest beyond luxury goods. Art and culture figured prominently. We wanted to work with someone from the art world who also understood corporate and turned to Formavision," Brian Bolain, Lexus Marketing Director as interviewed in I.D. Magazine, "This is How We Bankroll."
Commissioned by Lime PR and Wieden+Kennedy
Fashion Tech Forum, an initiative started by leading headhunting agency Karen Harvey Consulting, is an invitation-only event hosting 500 of the most exceptional inventors, thinkers, founders, designers, designers, investors and CEOs in fashion, retail media and technology. Topics discussed include wearable technology, the future of retail, personalization, sustainability, and company culture.
Formavision was retained along with Valerie Pasquiou Interiors & Design to create and execute the experiential design vocabulary of this yearly event started in 2014.
Produced by Palmer Schwartz Agency
For the conception of the New World of Coca-Cola, Formavision was commissioned by Coca-Cola to design and curate the exhibition content in two strategic areas of the facility: the central hub and the sampling lab.
In the hub, our large-scale mural represents a lively and abstract projection of the earth, for which we took inspiration from both op art and the cartographic legacy of Galileo and Copernicus to re-imagine a map, introducing op art elements and words in various international alphabets.
Formavision was also retained to design the sampling lab, otherwise called "Taste It!", where people of all ages are invited to sample some of the four hundred brands of soft drinks that the Coca-Cola Company produces and distributes around the World.
The nearly $100 million museum is the latest attraction in the tourism and development boom of Georgia's capital city following the late 2005 opening of the Georgia Aquarium. It is making a new epicenter for tourism in Atlanta and will draw an estimated crowd of 1.5 million visitors a year.
"Image is what this is all about, for as good as Coke is, it would hardly be worth such devotion if there were not what is called in the marketing world "added value." Added value comes from associations that have accumulated over the course of a century. This exhibition space is devoted to them." Edward Rothstein for The New York Times, Museum Review, July 30, 2007.
The Starbucks Salon is a nomadic temporary coffeehouse combined with a gallery and performance venue. The Manhattan edition featured two daily performances by musicians and artists such as Aimee Mann, Run DMC, Jim Carroll, House of Diehl and Lansing Dreiden.
While the first floor was conceived as an artistic coffee shop and intimate performance space, with murals by Romon Kimin Yang (a.k.a. Rostarr), the second floor exhibited a slanted gallery installation that aimed to represent the new perspective on contemporary culture brought by increasing corporate patronage.
Commissioned by Genart
At the occasion of the 2011 Boston Marathon, Formavision collaborated with Exposure USA to design and orchestrate the launch of the new Nike Lunarglide show. The installation was set up in a warehouse located in the old docks, and combined the industrial aesthetic of the space with the high tech aspects of the new Nike shoe. Color-coded interactive station helped visitors navigate the through the space while educating on the various innovations of the the Nike Lunarglide Collection.
Commissioned by Exposure USA
DoCoMo mushrooms ("Docomodake"), a family of mascots in the likeness of mushrooms and one of Japan's leading pop cartoon characters, are set to become the nation's best-tasting mascots following our art exhibition, entitled "How to Cook Docomodake."
The unlikely company mascots were introduced in 2005 when NTT DoCoMo launched a service allowing unused monthly time to be carried over or shared among family members. The mushroom family was conceived to emphasize that DoCoMo was the only mobile operator offering the service, because in Japanese dake means both "only" and "mushroom."
Today the smiling mascots have literally mushroomed into ubiquitous symbols of happiness. Docomodake appear everywhere in Japan, used widely as mobile phone accessories, phone-game and picture-book heroes, stuffed toys and much more. Soon a Doomodake Nintendo game will be released.
A total of sixteen up-and-coming Japanese painters, fashion designers, illustrators and artists have been invited to express their interpretations of mushroom cuisine. Among the participants are Matsui Erina. Kentaro Kobuke, Akino Kondoh, Anrealage, Chidoriya+Ichihara, Houran Yokoyama, Imaitoonz, Kiyoshi Kuroda, Kyotaro, Mikiko Minewaki, Mustone, Naoki Honjo, Rika Eguchi, Risa Fukui, Theatre Products and Taku Anekawa.
Commissioned by Dentsu
Transformatorhuis (Amsterdam), La Villette (Paris)
Os Kuduristas is a global program promoting and raising awareness of Angolan music, dance, culture and lifestyle.
Festas de Quintal, or backyard parties area staple of contemporary Angolan culture and remain present across every social class. They are a space of gathering for family and friends where all are welcome to partake in food, drink, laughter and, of course, dance.
Os Kuduristas is bringing the experience of the Angolan Quintal to Amsterdam and Paris via a creative studio by day, party and concert space by night. The Quintal provides a cultural and experiential opportunity to explore kuduro and sample a small taste of its birthplace, Angola, Africa.
The schedule includes everything from educational school visits, workshops and lunch time lounges to evenings featuring local and Angolan DJ mixes, dance battles, fashion show, and kuduro headline music performance.
Executive produced by Da Banda (Luanda) // Produced by Cunning Communications & Thought Bubble Concepts
A numerical play on the year in which the project was created, MMIX redeploys the concept of the remix to highlight the value of ethno-diversity in a modern world defined by rapid globalization. Composed of six totemic speakers made of zebrawood adorned with circular brand marks, the multi-channel installation establishes a dialogue between contemporary music and archival field recordings of vanishing cultures from around the globe.
The field recordings used for MMIX are provided by the Association for Cultural Equity (ACE), founded by renowned musicologist Alan Lomax (1915-2002) who traveled the world recording the sounds and songs of indigenous cultures, ranging from descendants of slaves in the Mississippi Delta, to Scottish tweed workers and the residents of Italian fishing villages.
For MMIX, we integrated the ACE samples with newly composed tracks created in collaboration with various artists such as Kyle Fischer, Andrew Vladeck and Caithlin De Marrais, Bob Hoffnar, Konrad Meissner, Kevin Ley and Josh Kaufman.
In addition to the installation, we invited choreographers Andrea Miller of Gallim and Jodi Melnick to conceive site-specific performances based on the newly created music and on the layout of the totemic speakers.
Commissioned by Sportmax (Max Mara)
For the launch of their high definition Aquos LCD televisions, Sharp collaborated with us to create a temporary gallery space in Soho named the Aquos Project, which featured artistic installations and computer-generated videos commissioned for the occasion.
The debut exhibition, "Codex 408," conceived with Kenzo Minami, directly reacted to the iconography of the television campaign developed by Wieden+Kennedy. The second installation, "Bloom," created with New York studio Tronic, was inspired by bio-mimicry, a growing scientific movement that studies natural phenomena and intelligence with the goal of replicating them on a technological and artificial level.
Commissioned by Lime PR and Wieden+Kennedy