TOP 10 large scale art installations of 2015



from a 10,000 square foot ball pit filled with nearly one million recyclable translucent plastic balls, to an immersive metal labyrinth, and a house hovering in midair by steel ropes, 2015 saw a number of large scale installations completed around the globe. all of the work is monumental in scale, engaging audiences in a memorable and engaging experience. continuing our annual review of the year’s BIG stories, we take a look at the top 10 installations that caught our eye in 2015.



gjøde & povlsgaard arkitekter elevates the infinite bridge over danish coast

image © aarhus I billeder



during this year’s sculpture by the sea festival in aarhus, denmark, danish practice gjøde & povlsgaard arkitekter added ‘the infinite bridge’ to the picturesque coastal landscape. the circular structure spans from the sandy shore out to sea, elevated just above the surface of the water, depending on the tide. beginning at the coast, visitors follow the ring-shaped formation from the beach to the water’s depths, making their way around the vast and continuous construction. a 60-meter diameter separates spectators on the seaside from the participating pedestrians situated at the furthest point from the coast.




gijs van vaerenbergh builds sculptural steel labyrinth at former coal mine

photo © filip dujardin




with a focus on the experience of space, gijs van vaerenbergh — a collaboration of belgian architects and artists pieterjan gijs and arnout van vaerenbergh — have realized an immersive labyrinth at the central square of c-mine art centre in genk, belgium. a one kilometer maze of steel corridors, with walls that tower 5 meters above the earth, surrounds installation visitors, placing them within the intricate depths of the imposing structural mass. a series of boolean transformations comprising large, geometric shapes are cut from the structure — a sphere, a cylinder, and a cone create voids and apertures that alter the walk through the labyrinth into a sequence of spatial and sculptural experiences.




germen crew turns mexican neighborhood into a rainbow painted mural

image courtesy of germen crew




a low-income neighborhood in mexico is now the talk of the town. germen crew — a youth organization of muralists and street artists — have transformed the village of palmitas into a vibrant rainbow, connecting the community of more than 200 homes through an array of colorful hues. the group of artists took to the narrow and steep streets that wind throughout the hillside town, individually painting the façades of residences and shops. saturated tones have been applied to the exterior brick surfaces, revealing a fluid and sinuous composition that unites the tightly-packed buildings when viewed from a distance. the project has significantly changed the character of the city, where the outward appearance of the neighborhood now match the colorful and lively personalities and culture of its inhabitants.




snarkitecture turns the national building museum into a 10,000 sq ft ball pit

photo by noah kalina




the national building museum in washington D.C. hosted a 10,000 square foot ball pit filled by nearly one million recyclable translucent plastic balls. ‘the beach’ — the brainchild of brooklyn-based studio snarkitecture — brings the quintessential summer experience to washington, D.C. within the enclosure, a spectrum of summer-themed activities offer an entertaining retreat from the heat. white beach chairs and umbrellas line the 50-foot-wide ‘shoreline’ that meets the ‘ocean’ of transparent orbs — a mirrored wall creates a seemingly infinite expanse. visitors were invited to bounce, jump, flip and frolic inside the deep pit of balls, or, if the prefer, to find retreat at the ‘shore’s’ edge with a book, play paddleball, or grab a drink at the snack bar.




charles pétillon floats a cloud of 100,000 balloons inside covent garden

photo by paul grover




french artist charles pétillon filled london’s 19th century covent garden market building with 100,000 giant white balloons. named ‘heartbeat’, the work is pétillon’s first public art installation, and his first ever live work outside of his native country. launched ahead of the london design festival in september, the balloons weave their way through the south hall of the grade II listed building, stretching to a total length of 54 meters. the installation also incorporates gently pulses of white light, designed to reflect the history, energy and dynamism of the district.




leandro erlich’s house is pulled by the roots in karlsruhe

images courtesy of ZKM | karlsruhe, stadtmarketing karlsruhe and karlsruher schieneninfrasturktur-gesellschaft




at the heart of karlsruhe, germany’s summer festival ‘the city is the star‘ exhibition is leandro erlich‘s ‘pulled by the roots’. known for his hyperreal sculptures and installations, the argentinian artist’s work sees a building crane bearing an unusual payload positioned over karlsruhe’s marktplatz — a house hovering in midair by steel ropes. drawing its architectural influences from the historical structures of riedrich weinbrenner, the home has a massive root system at its base which makes it seem as if it has been ripped from of a row of houses in a neighboring street.




lisa waud infills abandoned detroit house with thousands of flowers




conceived by lisa waud, the ‘flower house‘ project has seen botanical experts from across the united states fill the interior walls and ceilings of a 16-room abandoned urban house with american-grown fresh flowers and living plants, giving new life to a forgotten structure in the city of detroit. inside the worn and neglected home, visitors came upon a stunning display of greenery and blossoms interspersed and installed in nearly every crevice and cranny of the former residence. a chair upholstered with a ‘cushion’ of succulents and petals, a wall of tulips pinned to the interior by flower stems, and a ceiling dripping with vines turns the disarray and decay into a mesmerizing and sensory experience.




jaume plensa brings sculptural installations together for the venice art biennale

photo by jonty wilde




as visitors enter venice’s four-hundred-year-old basilica of san giorgio maggiore, they are welcomed by two, large-scale sculptural installations that act in dialogue with one another, and the historic space they temporarily inhabit. spanish artist jaume plensa presents ‘together’ for the venice art biennale 2015within the vaulted church interior, plensa joins a sculpture of a hand and head together in conversation: a stainless steel hand formed from characters of eight different languages suspends beneath the cupola in the foreground of the altar; a metallic mesh head sited in the nave towers above passing visitors. their materiality allows both works to distill and diffuse light passing through the internal spaces, engaging viewers in a spiritual and intellectual discourse.




encounter james turrell’s skyspace at culiacan botanical garden

image courtesy of savvy studio




the lush green botanical gardens of culiacan, mexico became the home of james turrell‘s immersive work ‘encounter’, the first public skyspace in latin america. renowned for forming perceptual light experiences that create an atmosphere of reflection and introspection, turrell has realized ‘encounter’ specifically for the site’s natural setting. the intimate observatory bears an elliptical shape, which visitors enter through a narrow aperture set within a grassy dome. once inside, an opening at the crown of the chamber allows viewers to experience the interaction between the evolving colors of the sky, and the changing, luminous hues projected on a circular orb surrounding. the altered perspective intensifies the effect that the tonal range between dawn and dusk innately generates in our conscience and human awareness.




jun ong embeds five-storey glowing star within unfinished building in malaysia

photo by ronaldas buozis




within the malaysian town of butterworth, kuala lumpur-based architect and artist jun ong has embedded a five-storey lighting installation within the core of an unfinished concrete building. spanning the full height of the architectural skeleton, ‘star’ pierces through several floors of the disused structure to form a 12-sided, three-dimensional object. the abstracted configuration is informed by the idea of a ‘glitch’ — first used in a space program to describe a voltage spike in an electric current — which is manifested both symbolically and physically. in terms of materiality, the dodecahedron appears almost as an error, curiously lodged within the concrete superstructure; metaphorically, the glitch is an embodiment of the sterile conditions of butterworth, a once thriving industrial port and significant terminal between the mainland and island.