moritz waldemeyer whirls 1,300 snowflakes at la rinascente
moritz waldemeyer whirls 1,300 snowflakes at la rinascente
photo © marco beck peccoz 

 

 

 

every holiday season, italian department store la rinascente celebrates with an artistic installation in the eight windows at their flagship location in milan, italy facing the historic duomo. for the 2013 event, german artist and designer moritz waldemeyer has transformed the exterior of the retail structure into an undulating sea of 1,300 iridescent-colored snowflakes. ‘winterwonder’ takes flight beyond the confines of the towering glass panes traditionally adapted for the intervention, and sees the winter motifs occupying the architecture. the conceptualization became a manufacturable artwork, swooping through the cavernous columnway as a massive, whirling vortex. the ceiling of the portico is met with a parametric expanse of curved and painted iron pipes on which varying shapes of crystallized forms are fitted. changing their hue depending on the position of the viewer, the flakes convey a dynamic aesthetic for passers-by of the popular locale. conceived in collaboration with INTERNI, ‘winterwonder’ also involves the public in an experience of augmented reality. by aiming a smartphone at a marker on the one of the store windows, a cyclone of shapes springs to life, surrounding people or objects in a colorful sea of snowflakes.

 

 

designboom spoke with the artist at the opening of ‘winterwonder’ about his influences, the challenges that came with creating the piece, and his own relationship to the location.

 

 


making of winter wonder
cover photo © marco beck peccoz

 

 

designboom: can you tell us about the project presented at la rinascente?

 

moritz waldemeyer: well, it was quite a task to fill the eight windows of la rinascente, so it’s quite a privilege to be asked to do that. what we wanted to achieve was to not only play with the windows themselves but to have an installation that comes out of the windows and fills the whole area under the columns. so we wanted to have something that would encompass the entire space, that was the prime idea. then the idea of snow came because I love snowflakes and experimented with snow motifs in the past. The idea has a lot to play with and celebrate. Snowflakes have such beautiful and varying aesthetics. To reflect this diversity, we decided to make every snowflake differently in the whole installation, so we started to work with parametric design, model the mathematics of it and transform the incredibly complex 3D model into something manufacturable.

 

 

moritz waldemeyer whirls 1,300 snowflakes at la rinascente
moritz waldermeyer’s installation ‘winterwonder’ surrounding la rinascente

 

 

moritz waldemeyer whirls 1,300 snowflakes at la rinascente
the entrance of la rinascente with ‘winterwonder’ surrounding

 

 

moritz waldemeyer whirls 1,300 snowflakes at la rinascente
snowflakes suspended from the cavernous space
image © designboom

 

 

designboom: what were some of the biggest challenges in developing the piece?

 

moritz waldemeyer: there were plenty of challenges. one of them was that nobody had ever hung anything in this space before, and the architecture was not actually ready to hang anything. so we had to do an additional structural project in order to have the hanging parts of the installation, and that was a huge part of the project. The logistics of bringing an installation of this size into the space was also challenging. we only had four nights, and really only the night time. also, since we were in italy we had to deal with authorities and permissions, which is a whole other ball game.

 

 

moritz waldemeyer whirls 1,300 snowflakes at la rinascente
looking at the installation through the columnway
photo by m.waldemeyer

 

 

moritz waldemeyer whirls 1,300 snowflakes at la rinascente
colorful snowflakes in the window
image © designboom

 

 

moritz waldemeyer whirls 1,300 snowflakes at la rinascente
blue and green shapes stream up and down the glass window
image © designboom

 

 

 

designboom: how does the context of milan play a part in the design, as we’re right beside the duomo?

 

moritz waldemeyer: it’s a tremendous privilege to work besides one of the most iconic pieces of architecture in the world. the building of la rinascente is also architecturally beautiful and an important building in milan. to be able to innovate in such a traditional building is fantastic.

 

 

moritz waldemeyer whirls 1,300 snowflakes at la rinascente
(left) yellow and green shapes in the window
(right) looking down the columnway
photos © marco beck peccoz

 

 

designboom: what kind of effect do you hope it has on the viewer?

 

moritz waldemeyer: the whole idea was to create an installation without really using any technology. the interactivity comes about through the use of 3M film, and whats amazing about it is that it changes color depending on the viewing angle. the idea is that when people walk along the walkway, the windows change appearance and that makes each experience really individual for each passer-by.

 

 

moritz waldemeyer whirls 1,300 snowflakes at la rinascente
(left) detail of magenta flakes in the window
photo by m.waldemeyer
(right) looking at the installation in the windows
photo © marco beck peccoz

 

 

moritz waldemeyer whirls 1,300 snowflakes at la rinascente
the app design integrating with the design
photo © marco beck peccoz

 

 

 

designboom: what’s the best piece of design advice you’ve ever been given?

 

moritz waldemeyer: the best recommendation for anyone that wants to design is to study engineering first, and then dive into the creative side of it because that gives you a very grounded base to make things.

 

 

moritz waldemeyer whirls 1,300 snowflakes at la rinascente
portrait of moritz waldemeyer
image © designboom