09.04.2019 #design

Linda Tegg

“Adjacent Field”: urban nature at Milan’s Design Week

I am interested in how nature can coexist with human life

For Milan’s Design Week, Australian artist Linda Tegg inaugurated an in situ installation within the Jil Sander headquarters. Together with Lucie and Luke Meier, the brand’s artistic directors, she presented “Adjacent Field”, a monumental installation made up of plants and mosses collected in Milan’s suburban area. Last year, the artist presented “Grasslands Repair” for the Australian pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture. With this installation, she returns to Italy, and on this occasion she spoke to Say Who about her project, nature as a common thread, and her research work carried out in recent years.

How did the idea of this collaboration with Lucie and Luke Meier come about?

I have been working on this project for a while now, focusing on the life cycle of plants and their recovery for display in galleries. But for this installation itself, everything went very quickly. The catalyst was discovering this space at the Jil Sander headquarters in Milan, which was just perfect for this project. We talked with Lucie and Luke about the idea, and I went on a looking around Milan in old industrial sites to identify the perennial plant communities that live there and grow everywhere, thus transforming these spaces.

Did you chose nature as a theme to illustrate the overall theme of Milan’s Fuori Salone, “Human Spaces” – the need to put ourselves and our environment at the heart of tomorrow’s architecture ?

I was more interested in the “non-human” part of “Human Spaces”. Indeed, the question I ask is this: how can we introduce other species into our human living space, plants or animals ? How can they live together with humankind, and in the spaces we have built for ourselves? I am interested in how nature can coexist with human life.

How did the collaboration with Jil Sander go?

For me, this is the start of a new form of collaboration, because the installation will last after the Design Week exhibition. The plants will have to live and cohabit inside the space of Jil Sander’s headquarters in Milan. It is a renewal, the beginning of something else that will consist in following the acclimatization of these plants in the workplace.

Have you been inspired by the (highly publicized) constructions of “green” buildings”, here called “Il Bosco vertical”, by Italian architect Stefano Boeri? What do you think of this type of construction and do you see parallels with your work?

I think it is a wonderful gesture to reimagine how to live next to nature again. I see real similarities in our mutual intent. My work also operates in performance spaces such as galleries, just like “Il Bosco Vertical” in Milan, which offers passers-by this show of “green” houses.

You curated the Australian Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Biennale of Architecture, and you are now participating in Milan’s Design Week. Have you always been close to Italy?

I travel a lot for my work and I have visited Italy several times where I have also been involved in reflections on design and nature. For Design Week, I also exhibited at the Milan Triennial in collaboration with an Italian architectural firm for “Broken Nature”, Barocco+Wright Architects.

What do you think of the audience at Design Week?

For me, it’s very motivating to meet a new audience, because new ideas come out of it. I like to evolve in new fields and disciplines that always bring new opportunities.

Interview: Delphine Souquet
Portrait and photos: Andrea Marcantonio

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