Studio Ossidiana creates a floating art gallery

Rotterdam-based design duo Studio Ossidiana have created a temporary art gallery for the Dutch city of Almere named ‘M’, which consists of two circular structures and a platform that each float on Lake Weerwater . The studio, led by Alessandra Covini and Giovanni Bellotti, was brought on board to create a cultural space for the city, which until now had no major galleries or museums.

The search for an architect began in early 2020 when five promising studios were invited to submit a proposal for the pavilion. It was important to the selection committee that those invited to participate had not yet seen their creations built – and that the gallery was a significant moment in their career trajectory. In the end, they opted for the “conceptual but accessible” design of Studio Ossidiana.

“Alessandra Covini and Giovanni Bellotti have devised a plan that appeals to all the senses and references Almere’s tradition of pioneering and experimentation,” said the organization overseeing the contest. “The resulting pavilion is a work of art that fits perfectly with the province’s vast array of land-based art, which will form part of Mr.’s collection.”

The design imagined by Studio Ossidiana was largely inspired by water? namely by the sea local to the area, and by Weerwater Lake, where the flag would eventually fly. The surfaces were clad in terrazzo made from seashells, molds, clay and charcoal which are all found in the local soil. Visitors move through three spaces in the shape of a circle, named Le Port, La Scène and L’Observatoire. The port allows external programming; The Stage is an island that can move away from the rest of the structure, and The Observatory has two exhibition spaces. “It offers a dream view from inside and outside,” the designers said.

Currently, the gallery presents an exhibition of works by five emerging artists who have developed their own vision of wilderness, and what it will look like in the future. Facilities and rooms include a pink underwater world and machines to help birds build nests.

In other architecture news, a new addition has joined the group of experimental buildings in London’s Design District, featuring a facade clad in color-shifting hues and a cross-laminated timber structure.

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