Frieze Art Fair, New York, USA, 2012
We developed an iconic yet flexible design for the fair, an annual event that draws international audiences to Randall’s Island. Originally intended for a single occasion, the design was so well received by the organizers and the public that it has been used again each year.
The design is a case study in innovative approaches to project constraints. The project required a quick turnaround for concept development and construction within a tight budget. These constraints are integral to the final design. Working with the limited vocabulary of a pre-fabricated rental structure provoked inventiveness in design. To address the fair’s high density of content, the design introduces variety through a series of angled voids along the 1,500-foot structure. The wedges make room for visitor amenities while bending the otherwise straight tent into a meandering, supple shape.
Set on Randall’s Island Park, the week-long event is an experiment in ephemeral placemaking: a flexible and open space for contemporary art in a natural context. The winding form of the tent echoes that of the shoreline, re-establishing a connection to the landscape. Its curves create a sculpture garden at one point and wrap behind foliage to make way for a deck and food trucks at another. The lightweight tent fabric aids in creating a diffused light ideal for the display of art. The modularity of the tent allows the fair organizers to quickly assemble and reconfigure the space year after year.