studio am

design musings, articles and projects by An Michiels

fashion/viktor&rolf ss2010

This is old news, but you might not have seen these stunning B/W photos of the latest show by Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren yet.  I can’t get over them, so here you go.

Spot singer Róisín Murphy in background with well hidden baby bump!

Viktor&Rolf SS2010

Photo Credit  Stephan Moscovic.

If you want to read more about them, I can recommend the catalogue to their grand exhibition ‘The House of Viktor and Rolf’, held in the Barbican Arts Gallery in London in 2008. But that’s old news too, because these guys keep running ahead and keep coming up with ever greater concepts!

There is a video of this show on the rather annoying Viktor and Rolf website, go and find it or try your luck on YouTube. Yatzer has great photos too.

book/installations by architects

‘Installations by architects, experiments in building and design’ seems a book worth adding to the shelf – and worth reading for that matter!
I picked it up from a book review on the great we-make-money-not-art blog, which has in-depth info and great illustrations from the book.

We-make-money-not-art is the brainchild of Belgian Régine Debatty.  She writes about the intersection between art, design and technology on the blog as well as in several European design and art magazines.   She also curates art shows and speaks at conferences and festivals about the way artists, hackers and interaction designers (mis)use technology.  Worth bookmarking!

Installations by architects

Book Cover: ‘Installations by Architects: Experiments in Building and Design’, by Sarah Bonnemaison and Ronit Eisenbach.  Available via Amazon USA and UK.
‘Walking in the Park’ Project: Asher DeGroot, David Gallaugher, Kevin James, and Jacob Jebailey.  Photo credit: Andre Forget.

archi/yaya’s 2009

Good for RogersStrickHarbour that they won the Stirling prize after a turbulent year of fighting the Prince of Wales, but their Maggie’s Cancer Centre doesn’t make my hart beat faster, even though the building serves a great cause.

The sterling work by the nominees for the 2009 YAYA’s (Young Architect of the Year Award) certainly does. Check them out on Building Design’s website.
Winners to be announced on the 5th of November.

I favour the all girls team Glowacka Rennie Architects with exciting work ranging from quirky small scale projects to large scale bridges and Office for Subversive Architecture (OSA), who venture outside the architectural boundaries into art installations.


Glowacka Rennie’s V&A Women’s toilets.

YAYA Accumulator

Office for Subversive Architecture’s ‘Accumulator’.
The Accumulator’s fabric funnel directed leaking rainwater into the disused Leeds International Swimming Pool last year.


Crowd of dressed up arty types of all ages in nightclub on Kingsland High Street arriving in cabs? What happened to dodgy nights out in Hackney … or was this just a Frieze Art Fair related one off?   My party escort Wessel definitely fitted in with the crowd in his new Hurwundeki trousers, sharp dude!


art/rca secret 2009

RCA secret art sale coming up on Saturday the 21st of November. Join me in the queue … from 8 in the morning! Don’t forget to register in advance.

Original postcard-sized artworks, donated by internationally acclaimed artists plus up-and-coming graduates from the Royal College of Art.
The postcards are signed only on the reverse. The author of each work will remain a secret until after the cards are purchased and the signature on the back is revealed.


design/niek audenaerd

Last week, we visited the New Professionals Conference in London with the MA Curating Contemporary Design students.  One of the presented papers was about iconoclasm. Helen E . Scott elaborated on all kinds of levels of iconoclasm, but she clearly forgot the ‘do-it-to-yourself’ category, as illustrated in ‘Vitrine’ by Niek Audenaerd (NL) below.  Visit Niek’s website for more of his intriguing designs based on life and death, read sex and suicide.

Niek Audenaerd Vitrine

events/october 2009

Action packed agenda!

‘Can Frieze reheat the art market?’ article by Alice Jones/Independent.  Good read about the current art market and who to watch.

Frieze Art Fair starts next week (15-18 October) and attracts a lot of attention as usual.  Because of the crisis, less (American) galleries coughed up cash for the expensive stands this year.  Good thing about it is that there is more space for newcomers.  Frame is a new section within the fair dedicated to solo artist presentations, it will show young galleries from around the world that have been in existence for less than six years.  Looking forward to check it out!

Zoo 2009 (16-19 October), bringing together over 50 contemporary arts organisations and practitioners, through a series of exhibitions, solo shows and stand presentations, sounds equally exciting.  They occupy a venue in East London this year which brings them where I think they should be, in the hart of creative London.
Zoo 2009 has produced an East End Map, highlighting over 60 contemporary art organisations within a 2 mile distance of the event. Representing all types, from emerging to established, public to private, commercial to non-commercial spaces, it will offer visitors a unique insight into the richness of what is known to be Europe’s largest cultural quarter.  Check map here.

The Museum of Everything‘s website looks entertaining and I am curious to go and have a peek. It is around the corner from Frieze, in a 10,000sq ft former dairy and recording studio in Primrose Hill.  It is a space for “art created outside mainstream art circles”, with works nominated by a stellar cast of established figures from Annette Messager and Ed Ruscha to Jarvis Cocker and Nick Cave.  The museum opens officially on the 14th of October and will have a shuttle bus service from Frieze.

As their website says: The brilliant Hans Ulrich Obrist, visionary curator and co-Director of the Serpentine Gallery in London, is bringing his Brutally Early Club to leafy Primrose Hill for a never to be repeated talk at The Museum of Everything. The talk will be on Hans Krüsi, the astonishing self-taught artist who decorated the streets of St Gallen with his strange Cow Machines. Breakfast will be served, along with free refreshments and lots of milk. A shuttle will be available to whisk guests straight to Frieze after the talk for everyone who knows a secret password to be picked randomly from Hans’ long sentences. Talk at 9am SHARP.

Check the events calendar for more info on new exhibitions.  Anish Kapoor in Lisson Gallery/Subodh Gupta in Hauser&Wirth/Anselm Kiefer in White Cube/Various artists from Duchamp to Chapman Bros in Paradise Row/…

Sounds like we better leave the heels at home and put a pair of walking boots on.

talk/thomas demand

In this Autumn’s Tate Etc. magazine, Michael Diers wrote an interesting article ‘Can you believe it?’ on the practice of trompe l’oeil. One of the illustrations used in his essay is the artwork ‘Clearings’ by Thomas Demand, which was on display at the Venice Biennale in 2003.
On the 2nd of November, I am going to a talk in which Demand takes part  – Architecture+Art: Crossover and Collaboration, organised by the Architecture Foundation – and was intrigued to find out more about his work.

See a photo of ‘Clearage’ below, what looks like a photo of foliage superimposed onto real, live foliage is in fact much more complex.

Thomas Demand Clearing

As Diers puts it in his article:

‘In Venice it was hard for the viewer to tell wether this was a decorative windbreak, an anonymous billboard or a work of art. In the end it was only the small label that indicated that it was a new work by Thomas Demand. Now the viewer felt obliged to go back and take a closer look, and suddenly all was revealed. The thousands upon thousands of leaves in the picture had in fact been made from paper, carefully positioned as foliage and only then photographed.’

Imagine, 30 people were working on this piece for three months and used 280,000 pieces of paper, flower wire and rolls of carpet to achieve the natural looking effect.
One assumes initially that photography is used for the faithfull depiction of reality and falls into the trap of visual illusion.
Master of deception!

Let’s see if he turns up ‘live’ at the lecture or if he sends his papier mache alter ego!

art/first thursdays east london

First Thursdays – late night art on the first Thursday of the month – have now got routes on their websites for exploring galleries in East London.

Might be a bit much for a Thursday evening, but sounds just fine for a sunny Saturday afternoon.

This walk by Andrea Tarsia includes Victoria Miro’s gallery (next door to Parasol Unit), they will show ‘The Walthamstow Tapestry’, new work of Grayson Perry  from this Friday onwards.  More in this Guardian article.  Worth checking I’d say …

Grayson Perry

an archi/marie’s house

One of my designs ‘Marie’s House’ in Olen, Belgium is now nearly completed.

The brief was to design a compact house for a client who wishes to retire in this house in the long term.  Hence the proposal for a single storey house with easy access to all rooms.  Fluidity and clear circulation, views and light were the driving thermes for the design.

The house has on open plan living area linked to a generous bedroom suite, a second guest bedroom and a central study with library open to the dining area.  The site has an unfortunate eastern aspect and an existing row of mature trees cast shadows over the site.  This issue has been addressed through cuts in the main volume to provide light and bring sun into the hart of the house.

Local architect Peter Van Nuffel brought the project to life and oversaw the site works.

MVE-BA small

marie all

talk/3 warp speed architecture

Watch this entertaining TED talk called ‘3 warp speed architecture’ by Bjarke Ingels of BIG on the future travels of Little Mermaid and much more.

Love or loathe the ‘big’ architecture,  his ideas seem to make a lot of sense.

art/erika hock

Check out Erika Hock‘s great work.


found it at

start/back to school

Hi there, I started an MA curating contemporary design this week.
It is exciting to have an academic break after ten years of architectural practice.
I will keep you posted of anything interesting that comes my way.

I will keep combining the course with small architectural commissions.
If you have any queries regarding architecture and/or curating, please contact me on