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Divided Layers

Daniel Arsham creates Divided Layers gateway at Milan design week

Designer Daniel Arsham has collaborated with bathroom and kitchen brand Kohler to create a walkable interpretation of a "sink" at a Baroque palace during Milan design week.

Called Divided Layers, the installation was made from seven stacked white panels that are arranged to form a tunnel, which is accessed by a platform flanked by a water feature.

Kholer installation
Divided Layers is an interactive installation

The large pool of water surrounding the panels reflects striking shadows onto their white exterior. After dark, the panels are illuminated by backlighting.

Divided Layers is on display at the city's historic Palazzo del Senato, where its contemporary appearance contrasts with its traditional setting.

Daniel Arsham installation
Curved panels are arranged in a stacked formation

"In some ways, the installation is very counter to the architecture that it's sitting within," Arsham told Dezeen.

"It's a very modern, clean white box that has been excavated out and kind of sliced through these multiple layers."

Walkable sink by Daniel Arsham
The installation is meant to be a "walkable sink"

Described as a "walkable sink", Divided Layers intends to represent the layered design of Rock.01, a vessel-like 3D-printed sink that Arsham created with Kohler last year.

While Rock.01 was made with vitreous china and patinaed hand-cast brass, the installation's panels are created from wood and finished with hand-laid clay with a rough texture.

Divided Layers draws on the "stacking and marrying" construction process that was used to make the original sink, and was also informed by a drawing Arsham sketched over 10 years ago, according to the designer.

A scale model of Rock.01 was placed behind the installation, along with information detailing the process and materials used to design it.

Wooden panels by Daniel Arsham
It is made from wood and hand-laid clay

Explaining the importance of brand and artist collaborations, Kohler CEO David Kohler said, "I think it's critical to Milan design week because you want to set it apart from a traditional fair or exhibition space and really push the boundary of creative thinking."

"It's probably one of the most interesting, unique and amazing things you can do to really give credit and pay homage to this incredible space [Palazzo del Senato] and being in Milan" he added.

"The installation is almost like a portal you can walk through to enter into some new idea of the world," concluded Arsham.

Daniel Arsham installation
Divided Layers is a brand and artist collaboration

Arsham is a New York City-based artist and designer who co-founded architecture studio Snarkitecture with Alex Mustonen in 2008.

Other past installations by Arsham include a translucent green box at an edition of Design Miami and a bright blue Japanese tea house at Atlanta's High Museum of Art.

The photography is courtesy of Kohler.

Milan design week takes place from 6 to 12 June 2022 in Milan, Italy. See our Milan design week 2022 guide on Dezeen Events Guide for information about the many other exhibitions, installations and talks taking place throughout the week.

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