For Milan Design Week 2022, Nature Squared and ANOTHERVIEW collaborated to create VIEW 20. The project is a limited-edition custom installation that celebrates culture through an immersive experience. Unveiled to the public on June 6, 2022 in the Rossana Orlandi Gallery, the installation will remain until Milan Design Week 2023. Its presence will reinforce gallery founder Rossana Orlandi’s passion for sustainable design.
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ANOTHERVIEW records continuously for 24 hours from a fixed position to create video windows to transport viewers visuospatially and temporally to different sites across the globe. These range from the Canal Grande in Venice to waterholes encircled by wildlife in rural Namibia. VIEW 20 features one such scene in a small Indian village called Ranakpur. The landscape features a large, central banyan tree and its interactions with people and animals alike.
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Filming in Rajasthan
VIEW 20 began with ANOTHERVIEW’s trip to Rajasthan in August of 2018. During their journey, they visited Ranakpur, where they were entranced by a large banyan tree they found on private property. This became the filming site for VIEW 20. With permission from the owner, ANOTHERVIEW filmed for 24 hours to capture the essence of the tree. Banyan trees are the national tree of India and are well-known for their lush, dense canopies and aerial roots. Additionally, because of their 200 to 300 year lifespan, banyans symbolize immortality.
To capture the nature of the Ranakpur village, the ANOTHERVIEW team invited locals from the nearby village to spend the day by the tree. The gorgeous banyan attracted animals and villagers alike throughout the 24-hour filming period. In the morning, children visited to play under the tree’s immense shade. Around lunchtime, shepherds visited with their large flocks of sheep. Monkeys were attracted by a local monkey charmer and the experience was capped with musicians and dancers after sunset. The result was a rich portrait showcasing the daily life of the rural community, celebrating their culture and surroundings.
Creating an eco-friendly spatial experience
To feature this immersive experience for Milan Design Week, Nature Squared was in charge of creating the screen’s frame. Nature Squared works with natural waste materials to create architectural products. VIEW 20’s frame is no exception to this. It was designed by Nature Squared’s Chief Material Innovator Elaine Yan Ling Ng. Though the team used numerous material finishes for the installation, they only used three core materials. These were eggshell waste sustainably sourced from bakeries, reclaimed bamboo and abaca, a sturdy fiber from a Philippine banana species.
To create the frame, Nature Squared worked with ANOTHERVIEW to capture the essence of their trip to Rajasthan. One of the first spatial components drew inspiration from the filming experience. To record the scene for VIEW 20, ANOTHERVIEW set up a tent made from bamboo and local textiles as their 24-hour observation station. The tent’s fabric had a pattern of a temple entrance, inspiring Ng to frame the viewing window as such.
Blending the realms of design and research
The main structure of the frame is made from a wall of Ng’s PASTORALE textile. PASTORALE was a textile collection designed exclusively for Nature Squared and is made from abaca. The textile’s open structure makes it versatile for various uses and allow fibers to move freely, thus creating dynamic effects. VIEW 20 incorporates PASTORALE through a screen and as an inlay for the curved structure to further demonstrate its flexibility.
The frame around the screen transcends a conventional border. Instead, it invites viewers into a physical space that emulates Rajasthani architecture. Ng drew from Rajasthani temple designs, featuring their intricate pillars and crafted the installation using sustainable materials. The project’s earthy, beige color palette is also inspired by the vernacular architecture and creates a calming visual effect.
To create the 3D architectural pillar details for the frame, Ng used TERRAMIQUE. For Milan Design Week in 2021, Ng created a collection called CArrelé. This featured eggshell tiles made from TERRAMIQUE’s eggshell-based substance. The word TERRAMIQUE means “ceramic from earth” and is created using eggshell waste that is crushed, mixed with a binding agent and baked. The mixture can be colored using natural dyes and resembles terrazzo. Like PASTORALE, TERRAMIQUE is also very versatile, as it can be used on large surfaces or molded and carved into desired forms, such as the architectural columns created for VIEW 20.
The final element of the installation is a 2.8-meter curved viewing bench made from reclaimed bamboo. It incorporates Nature Squared’s signature starburst pattern, which is inlaid by hand. The bench brings together the viewing experience and encourages the audience to be immersed in the installation.
Engaging the senses
For a truly holistic sensory experience, the project collaboration extends to the Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia gourmet restaurant. Two-Michelin star chefs, Fabio Pisani and Alessandro Negrini along with pastry chef Domenico Peragine, celebrate VIEW 20 with a luscious, vegan dessert. It is inspired by Indian cuisine and incorporates a myriad of spices. The dessert is composed of nutmeg, pepper and clove-spiced bread, cinnamon shortbread and Bavarian creamed rice with saffron and turmeric.
Through the amalgamation of visual, tactile, auditory and gustatory details, the VIEW 20 installation becomes a meditative, immersive experience. ANOTHERVIEW and Nature Squared’s collaboration presents how the realms of art and design can blend with research and science. From this incredible installation, viewers are inspired to connect with the rural Rajasthani community and their surroundings, while appreciating the project’s sustainable design.
+ ANOTHERVIEW and Nature Squared
Images via Nature Squared