NEW YORK – Prada’s OMA-designed New York epicentre was built in 2001 to ‘transcend shopping’. Which it didn’t. But it’s made a mighty fine clothing store when it isn’t mobbed by tourists and a whole lot of money even when it is. One of OMA’s artful touches was a digitally printed 60-m-wide wallcovering that spans the narrow street-level retail space and is renewed every six months by Manhattan design studio 2x4. Fourteen years on and the rotating murals are still mash-ups of ideas – coherent and palpably graphical – plucked from fashion, culture, architecture and design.
One pattern, Trembled Blossoms, has even been translated into a fabric pattern, catwalk scenography and, don’t ask how, a travelling film series. This year, using imagery taken from the Spring/Summer 2015 campaign, the studio came up with Myopia, a series of portraits in soft psychedelic hues that blur in and out of focus and, in so doing, obscure the dimensions of the space as well. To create the 2015 ‘resort season’ wallcovering, called Vanishing Points, 2x4 simply threaded Myopia with multiple-point perspective lines in black industrial duct tape.
The perspectives pinch the flat fuzzy walls into sharp 3D sightlines, an effect that the studio describes, in words that should resonate with anyone distraught over world politics today, as ‘hard-edged rationalism piercing pastel miasma’. At the moment, certain governments could make wise use of that philosophical turn of phrase to alleviate their own myopia.
Photo Ricky Zehavi, courtesy of 2x4 and Prada
This article debuted in Frame #107 alongside many other inspirational interviews and projects. Find your copy in the online Frame store.
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