Fertilizers: Laurie Olin and Peter Eisenman in the ICA

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Laurie Olin and Peter Eisenman
The I-beam forest, part of Peter Eisenman and Laurie Olin’s Fertilizers installation at the ICA

Well, Fertilizers is no Holiday Home, the pink-and-white architectural fantasy structure by Caroline Bos and Ben van Berkel, that showed at the ICA last winter. But the ICA’s newest architecture/design commission has a number of pleasures.

Laurie Olin and Peter Eisenman
Fertilizers redraws the space in the galleries. Here’s a shot of the side of the ramp. (The color is way off–the peach is really white; the colors in the room were so intense, they confused my camera’s magic color sensors).

Fertilizers, a collaboration between architect Peter Eisenman and landscape architect Laurie Olin, redraws the space of a towering ICA gallery, suggesting new routes of navigation and a playfulness that the space normally lacks. Of the new routes, the ramp to a peephole is the flashiest, but it’s the I-beam forest that interested me most.

The simulated I-beams are papered with digitally printed tree bark rendered in black-and-white. They also are painted dark red on some of their surfaces. So they are trees, wood, metal, infrastructure. Arranged in a grid that forms allees, they support part of the Fertilizers structure, which looms just a wee bit overhead–way lower than most tree canopies. The space is cavelike and funny all at once. People at the opening weaved through the tiny forest, checking out the bark and the cropped vistas.

The other highlight of the installation was the wall colors–one is a hopped up green, the other a dark lipstick pink. Mwah.

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