Wallpaper features Nick Gelpi's, TSA '02, PAVILION project

David Armentor

Oct 7, 2015

Detroit design: Wasserman Projects fuses art and architecture

Named for its historic farmer’s market, the Eastern Market neighborhood in Detroit has become a creative hub in recent years, attracting art galleries, restaurants, studios and maker spaces, reflecting the city’s overall cultural renaissance. Because of its overabundance of real estate, affordable rents and bohemian atmosphere, Detroit has become an ideal breeding ground for cultivating creativity. ‘Detroit is a fertile environment where art is making a difference, growing a new city, and it is extremely motivating and a privilege to be able to participate in this really unprecedented urban evolution,’ said Detroit native, collector Gary Wasserman.

Last week, in the midst of the Detroit Design Festival, the collector launched Wasserman Projects, an independent, interdisciplinary creative space. For its two inaugural exhibitions, on view through December 12, Wasserman filled the venue with two shows centered on large-scale interactive installations by Markus Linnenbrink and Nick Gelpi, and Jon Brumit. ‘This inaugural exhibition brings together artists and designers coming from a wide range of backgrounds,’ said Wasserman, founder of Wasserman Projects. ‘It is a great example of the conceptual and experiential nature we have envisioned for our programming and is just the beginning of the innovative programs we plan to realise in our new location.’

In the main 5,000 sq ft space, German-born, Brooklyn-based artist Linnebrink teamed up with Miami Beach architect Gelpi on a site-specific room titledTHEFIRSTONEISCRAZYTHESECONDONEISNUTS, which filled it with a vibrant, yet dizzying, striped kaleidoscope of colours where visitors are invited to experience the fusion of art and architecture. For its opening last week, Wasserman filled the installation with music by Detroit DJ Jeedo X and guest saxophonist, Saxappeal. In the second exhibition, Elf Waves, Earth Loops, and *Spatial Forces, Detroit-based artist Brumit drew inspiration from seemingly unrelated sources: public engagement, harsh noise, GMOs, pirate radio, and vibrational healing. The work features a sonorous grain silo, lathe-cut loop records, and public radio broadcasts. The space will only enrich the Motor City’s thriving art scene. Perhaps fitting, considering Wassermann Projects’s ‘goal is to become one of the many threads in the vibrant fabric that is Detroit.’



This house shaped pavilion is designed to be painted, which is conceived of as an inhabitable painting, combining art and architecture in the design process to create an immersive, interactive environment. 

The pavilion was conceived of as an inhabitable painting, one that blurs the lines between a space and its relationship to the artwork displayed upon its walls, sometimes fitting tightly, while other times appearing out of place. The process of collaboration involved the integration of the architect’s form-making process with the artist’s painting strategies.  Each collaborator worked simultaneously with lines of pattern and folds integrating both into a single immersive field.  This new synthesis in the pavilion serves to blur boundaries and find possibilities for new experiences between art and architecture

On the exterior, the painting bleeds through the surface as a series of engraved lines which mimic the appearance of unusually configured house siding. 

Visitors are invited to explore the outside of the pavilion, peering inside through small windows scattered around the exterior, or enter the pavilion and inhabit the painting itself.

The pavilion is built in two symmetrical halves on a steel frame with industrial casters and is designed to open up along a central split.  When opened the two halves are intended to act as an acoustical venue for music performances.

The pavilion is constructed of standard residential wood framing on 16 inch spacing, joined with lasercut steel gusset plates.  Birch plywood panels were machined with grooves on the exterior displaying the underlying composition of the interior painting.

Size = approx 24’ x 25’overall, int dimensions 25’ x 16’



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