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Pink elephant 2


Having nothing to do with pink elephants of the hiccup variety of Roberta’s post, the ICA’s upstairs installation, “Holiday Home,” by architects Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos was a pink elephant of another sort–not to mention a white elephant (image, door to “Holiday Home”).


And for these reasons and more, everyone there seemed to love it, wanted to touch it, craned their necks to look at the inside from the outside and the outside from the inside, rushed to pull of their shoes to tread the pink prismatic planes of the floor (image, the chimney–or perhaps the skylight–to “Holiday Home”).


“Holiday Home” is a futuristic building of sorts that doesn’t know about right angles, but nonetheless manages to have doors and evoke picture windows and generous chimneys. Even the light coming in via the various openings forms irregular, four-sided polygons on the floor (image, a picture window).


Its exterior is pristine white. Its interior is in shades of pink. The whole enterprise is a glowing dream house, too fantastic to serve as a real one, but full of spaces and planes that merge the Flintstones and Frank Lloyd Wright and ski chalet (image, a view of the inside).


Berkel and Bos are principals in the Dutch architecture firm UN Studio, and the shifting light was designed by Imaginary Forces, not imaginary forces. But the whole experience is totally “Cabinet of Dr. Caligary”–minus the creepiness factor (image, people inside the building, listening to van Berkel speak).

The piece was created especially for the ICA’s “Architecture + Design” series (added to this post 01/26/06: supported in part by Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative). It arrived in pieces, and weighs 8 tons!


The show is one of four to open at the ICA yesterday. The downstairs group show, “Gone Formalism,” exuded energy and iconoclasm (at the same time that it reminded me of how the Philadelphia art scene is totally integrated with what’s happening nationally and internationally); the Ingrid Calame ramp project is exuberant; and the Brian Tolle Ben Franklin tribute “Die, or Join” has a scholarly and public art vibe which manages to capture Philadelphia’s conservative taste at the same time that it integrates a lot of info about Ben and about the state of the Union to day. Pretty swell (image, part of Charles Long’s piece made from objects collected in the L.A. River channel).

More to follow from both of us.