Unzipped: Architectural Illusions by Alex Chinneck - architecture and design

Unzipped: Architectural Illusions by Alex Chinneck

The facade of an entire building in Milan, Italy has been ?unzipped? to reveal a strange blankness behind it, glowing by night in alternating shades of blue and white. Created for Milan Design Week, A spoonful of sunrise is just the latest large-scale architectural illusion from British sculptor Alex Chinneck, who?s known for taking ordinary objects in urban environments and transforming them into surreal scenes.

?The 17-meter unzipping facade covered two buildings, giving them a new, unified identity,? he says. ?To be clear, we rebuilt the entire front ? the original buildings were completely concealed. The facade also created an internal corridor behind it that linked the interior spaces. This enabled us to take visitors on a journey, starting outside with the fatigued aesthetic of a seemingly historic Milanese building and then revealing, through a series of openings in its walls and floors, portals to a futuristic world.?
Chinneck initially went to art school for painting but felt frustrated by the fact that he had to choose a focus of study. Wanting to experiment with new materials, methods, and technologies, he ultimately left to work with other artists and learn through practice. Today, he works with architectural consultants and structural engineers to ensure that all his installations are safe. The challenge, he says, is that work of this kind simply hasn?t been done before, so learning on the job is the only way to go.

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