There is no place like these homes. Danish designers Ben & Sebastian show through vivid 3D renderings, real-life architectural sculptures and life-sized building models that there is a way to take our imagination – the architecture we dream of – and make it come alive.
City of the (Re)Oriented is one of their most incredible works, like something straight out of a William Gibson vision of a futuristic three-dimensional cityscape, an MC Escher piece for postmodern times or perhaps the urban pathways of our very minds. So what does it mean”The ‘map’ has long been useless in a city whose streets are continually reshaped by their walkers, vendors, sponsors, hobby street artists and salvation-sellers. In this anthill of possibilities only the most elastic orientation software can direct the city’s inhabitant through its myriad of shifting, tangled streets.”
If the work shown above is whimsical, playful and carefree, then this piece is anything but. Titled ‘Mountain of Depression’ it is quite self-explanatory: a physical manifestation (in the form of a shattered interior design scene) of the real psychological damage that one can endure during a mental health crisis. Only a conceptual model, it is nonetheless compelling (not to mention disturbing) even at as a small-scale miniature mock-up.
Other pieces by this designer duo include a conceptual Tower-of-Babel-style spiral structure that winds its way to the clouds – composed entirely of chairs – and furniture-like works that blur boundaries between various arts and crafts, inviting us to think big and small all at the same time.
“The work of the collaborative artist practice, benandsebastian, teeters on a cusp between designed physicality and intangible theories of the mind. Trained in architecture and theoretically versed, their sculptures take on elaborate mechanics and boast intricate detailing, yet speak to vast philosophical and sociological systems. It is impossible to concretely anchor their work, an elusiveness made evident in their recent exhibition at the Designmuseum Danmark, ‘Phantom Limbs’. Embedded directly within the permanent collection and specifically paired with unexpected inventory from Copenhagen’s Medical Museum, National Museum and the attics of Designmuseum Danmark, their work becomes not only the sculptures on display, but the myriad relationships made between context and object, between body and limb. Evoking the medical sense of phantom limbs, where an amputee still feels the presence of the absent limb, benandsebastian navigate the museum context and call into question the assumed wholeness we expect, perceive and viscerally feel.”