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COS, the minimalist fashion brand of Swedish group H&M, is returning once more to Milan’s Salone del Mobile, this time commissioning a new site-specific project entitled “Forest of Light” by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto.
The resulting light installation and presentation is located in Cinema Arti, the former theater of Milan’s San Babila District. Built in the 1930s by Italian architect Mario Cereghini, the now desolate and derelict venue has inspired key aspects of Fujimoto’s design and provides an expansive backdrop to the installation.
“Forest of Light” explores ideas of interaction and perspective; with darkened space illuminated by towering cones of light designed to respond to visitors’ movements. The piece is accompanied by specially-composed sounds, subtle fog, and mirrored walls that together create an immersive, infinite landscape where the conical illuminations become abstracted trees in a shifting forest of light.
Fujimoto said of the installation, “The COS pavilion is the purest realization of the forest concept. This forest is not static, but light and people interact with one another, this interaction connects fashion, space and forest as a form of architecture.”
His work has inspired COS’s purified signature look for many years. Fujimoto has referred to his style as “primitive future” (also the title of his monograph) and is known to focus on negative space and concepts of bringing the outside in, creating a seamless instinctual architecture. Some of Fujimoto’s most well-known projects, like London’s 2013 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, blur the parameters of space with edges dissolving into their surrounding environment.
Martin Andersson, the head of menswear design at COS said of the collaboration, “Sou Fujimoto has really grasped the COS aesthetic, creating an installation that is so special in its simplicity and surprising in its approach.” Karin Gustafsson, Head of Womenswear Design continued, “It has been great working with Sou Fujimoto on this project, we have never had such a beautifully simple installation focusing on light and the effect is incredible.”
Open through April 17, “Forest of Light” marks the fifth year COS has participated in Salone del Mobile, and builds on the brand’s previous art and design endeavors, with the likes of Serpentine Gallery, Frieze Art Fair, and the Donald Judd Foundation.