Location: Milan, Italy
Client: Self commissioned
Gross floor area: 10.000 m2
Status: Completed in 2022
The Certosa Initiative takes over an industrial hall, named ‘The Cathedral’ for its monumental scale. As is, the Cathedral seems unsuited to a multi-exhibitor design exhibition such as new kid on the block Certosa initiative. And that’s just how Amsterdam architects Beyond Space like their challenges. Facing the colossal task of conjuring up this complex project with a multitude of parties and moving parts on an unforgiving timeline is not for everyone. Beyond Space founding partner en Certosa Initiative Remi Versteeg remarks: “To us, it is a grand scale transformation, regardless of whether we’re making permanent or temporary architecture. We organise the space, the signage, the routing, and transform it into a striking visual and spatial experience for both our exhibitors and visitors.”
A beautiful cacaphony
A decidedly architectural intervention makes it so: Beyond Space deploys floor-to-ceiling, semi-transparent cloth to divvy up the vast space into a series of more intimate, serene exhibitor rooms, each measuring 9x9x9 metres. The visitor can see from one cube to the next, maybe even the next, but the layering of cloth eventually draws a veil over what lies just beyond. “Like that, the visitor manages to avoid the cacophony of different design objects competing not only with each other, but also against the vastness of the space.”, adds Versteeg.
Beyond Space x Boris Acket; The cathedral as an audiovisual instrument
These twelve cubes, daytime dwellings of the Certosa Initiative exhibitions, mutate once again come dusk into a spatial sound and light composition called transˈfɪɡə. A collaboration between Beyond Space and audio-visual artist Boris Acket. Acket is a contemporary composer and audiovisual artist who creates what he calls ‘instruments of sound, light and movement, that perform within their own ruleset and ecosystem.’ transˈfɪɡə transforms the entire space into one of these massive spatial instruments, spanning throughout the entire hall.
Says Acket: “12 cubes of light, situated on the floor, are able to transform the ‘walls’ of the spaces into segments and different shades of white. They are able to let the space act as one, but also as 192 segments moving in different directions. The instrument transforms walls into living and speaking entities. It reminds us about the temporality of everything surrounding us and challenges us to see spaces for what they really are: constant feedback loops of endless mutations; infinite instruments to interact with. The work is an ode to fluid thinking, to re-interpretation.”
Different sized openings placed in unexpected places lead the visitor from one visual marvel to the next, each time allowing for a brief reset in between, a quick cleanse to free up the mind for the next exhibit. Each of the presentations gets both the attention, by ensuring the routing passes each plot, and the focus, by creating temporary spaces of a more intimate scale, they deserve.
TRANSˈFꞮGƏ is the successor of Transito, a collaboration between Beyond Space and Children of the light that left an indelible impression at the 2018 Salone at the Museum Diocesano. transˈfɪɡə also harks back to The Museum, a temporary installation at the Palazzo Clerici during Milan Design Week 2019 that contained the archetypical qualities of a conventional museum, but deconstructed the composition of spaces to create an experience of grandeur within half-scale architecture.
Those familiar with Beyond Space’s work will also recognise elements of the Siersema showroom/office interior, where they filled the entire space with a rippling of ceiling-to-floor, semi-transparent, ocean-hued drapes — a kilometre in total! — lasercut to hew out distinct spaces serving both office and retail purposes.
In many ways, transˈfɪɡə at Certosa Initiative is the current culmination of these themes that figure prominently in Beyond Space’s practice. But the next one is already in the works! Not a week after the Salone’s closing, Beyond Space presents their next project at Art Basel