Mist in the Garden

John Hill
23. August 2021

NEBULOSUS is a "pavilion" of vapor clouds created by AUTHOS.ch and Stella Speziali for the third iteration of Design Biennale Zurich, taking place at the Old Botanical Garden until September 5th. The ephemeral installation will host a special augmented reality display during the Lange Nacht der Zürcher Museen (Long Night of Museums) on September 4th.


The designers describe NEBULOSUS as an "immersive 'structure'" that "provides an ultra-sensory, spatial-boundary-exploring experience for visitors" to the garden grounds. Taking up approximately 50 square meters, the installation expands and contracts based on the winds and other weather conditions. It is a respite from the summer heat during the day and a spectacle at night, when "a matrix of shaded lines and angles emerges," per the designers, thanks to projection mapping.


NEBULOSUS is one of twelve installations in Design Biennale Zurich, which takes on the theme "Clash," a topic that was actually selected before the coronavirus pandemic and the conflicts that have defined life around the world over the last year and a half. (Susanna Koeberle takes a look at the overall Biennale at Swiss-Architects, in German.) AUTHOS and Stella Speziali align their installation with climate change and the "impossibility, now more than ever, of controlling our climate."


With its construction of misting nozzles forming vapor clouds in the garden, NEBULOSUS obviously recalls Diller Scofidio + Renfro's Blur Building, which was built for Expo 2002 in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland. Described recently as "one of the iconic architectural events of the new millennium," Blur enabled Expo visitors to don raincoats and immerse themselves in a "cloud" over Lake Neuchâtel, eerily foreshadowing the weather events that would come to define much of 21st-century life.


Visit the Design Biennale Zürich website for more information on NEBULOSUS and the special display being held during the Long Night of Museums on the night of September 4th.

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