Fashion brand COS teamed up with California based artist, Phillip K Smith III, to create
an altered reflection of the city at the heart of Milan Design Week. The immersive
site-specific installation combined nature with the built environment, employing light
and space as materials.
Tasked with surpassing last year’s award-winning collaboration with Studio Swine, the
British fashion label enlisted Smith to create an exhibit that would exceed
expectations. A considered move from COS, as the artist has sustained an impressive
following online, with previous works commissioned for public events including L.A’s
Centred in the courtyard of Milan’s 16th century Palazzo Isimbardi, a shining crown-like
structure appeared in the form of a 14 metre wide beacon, reflecting the historic
architecture of the palace and the open sky above. Comprised of faceted panels in a
semi-circle formation, the mirrored surface served to reconfigure an alternative vision
of its surroundings, one angle at a time.
Each visitor was afforded their own unique experience of the work depending on
their viewpoint, the angle of the sun and subtle changes in light and colour
throughout the day.
Moving through the central space and into the palace’s adjoining gardens, the view
opened up to reveal five smaller scale sculptures bouncing back vistas of the
immaculately manicured greenery surrounding them.
Those unable to visit Milan could still get a taste for the concept in a series of smaller
installations, placed in the windows of COS stores around the globe – each reflecting
views of the surrounding city.
Phillip K Smith Smith III has a history with architecture, having completed a Bachelor at
Rhode Island School before moving on to study fine art. He has maintained an affinity
with the built environment, that continues to inform his visual vocabulary.
By: Jennifer Ring
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