British artist Alex Chinneck has unzipped an old Milanese building as part of this year’s Milan Design Week. On show on Via Tortona for the duration of Milan design week, the installation sees one of the building’s 17-meter-wide facades peeling back, and also creates openings in its interior walls and floor.
The installation was commissioned by IQOS, the vaping and heated tobacco brand. The IQOS World exhibition—which is expected to be visited by more than 50,000 people during Milan Design Week—is an artistic expression of the future, brought to life through a collaboration with well-known sculptor Alex Chinneck, known for inverting electricity pylons and tying grandfather clocks in knots.
Alex’s unique talent for combining art, architecture and theater in his work manifests on a monumental scale: The architecture itself, both inside and out, becomes transformed into a work of art, taking on new and unexpected shapes. The walls and floor become metaphors for a process of transformation, evoking—through imaginative portals—seemingly infinite routes to a newly imagined future.
“By taking familiar materials and architectural forms and making them behave in extraordinary ways, we are working with IQOS to change visitors’ perceptions of what is possible,” said Chinneck. “Through the repeated use of the zipper, we have opened up the fabric of a seemingly historic Milanese building to playfully re-imagine what lies behind its facade, floors, and walls. Ethereal light pours through each opening, filling the space with color and filling the work with a sense of positivity and potential.”
Inside, a semi-circular hole in the floor has been unzipped so that the cement floor appears to peel back, emitting a bright white light from below. Chinneck excavated and re-poured the entire concrete floor in order to install the artwork. Another zip down the centre of an internal wall seems to drag the wall itself down and reveals a glowing light behind.
The project is the artist’s first in Italy. Last summer, he also unzipped a soon-to-be-demolished office building in Ashford, Kent, near to where he had recently moved his studio. Alex Chinneck’s installation is at Spazio Quattrocento, Via Tortona 31, Milan 20144 from 8 to 14 April.