Milan Design Week: Sculptural tree that blossoms with mist-filled bubbles

Updated 4th April 2017
Milan Design Week: Sculptural tree that blossoms with mist-filled bubbles
Written by Fiona Sinclair Scott, CNNMilan, Italy
Studio Swine, a collaboration between Japanese architect Azusa Murakami and British artist Alexander Groves, together with COS unveiled a new multi-sensory installation in Milan during the city's international design week.
The ephemeral, soothing installation, housed within a decommissioned cinema, is a gentle response to what the duo refer to as a year of "changes and crisis."
Studio Swine wanted to create something that was "democratic and accessible." The work, called "New Spring," has a focal, tree-like sculpture in the center of a dark room.
The sculpture features cascading, scented, mist-filled blossoms that burst and evaporate upon contact with skin but live for a few moments when met with textured fabrics.
"New Spring" by Studio Swine
"New Spring" by Studio Swine Credit: Oliver Bloor/CNN
Visitors to the installation are invited to put on gloves to interact with the bubbles as they drop from overhead.
The aim was to create a "fleeting moment."
"We have so much stuff in our lives, and sometimes austerity is a great luxury," Groves said ahead of the launch of the installation. "It was great to be given the opportunity to make something that isn't a commodity to sell. Designers can design an experience; it doesn't have to be about more stuff."
"New Spring" by Studio Swine
"New Spring" by Studio Swine
Studio Swine is known for its sensitive and broad use of materials -- the studio has worked with ocean plastic and human hair in the past.
"The base is made of scaffolding aluminum," Murakami said. "The bubbles are made of water, air and vapor so they disappear and leave no footprint."
Clothing brand COS commissioned the work, marking the brand's sixth creative collaboration with an artist or designer during Milan Design Week. Previous projects have been with Gary Card, Bonsoir Paris, Nendo, Snarkitecture and Sou Fujimoto.
A close-up of the mist-filled bubbles
A close-up of the mist-filled bubbles Credit: Oliver Bloor/CNN
COS creative director Karin Gustafsson said she came across Studio Swine's work a few years ago through her research. "We fell in love straight away," she said during an interview in her London office. "When they came in to see us, what was so amazing was their thought process, how they came to this installation was 'wow.'"
The installation is open to the public during design week through Sunday in Milan's Cinema Arti.
Video by Oliver Bloor