Fusing Art And Architecture, fine artists Edward Lam and Deborah Moss frequently collaborate with architects, interior designers, and other clients to make custom, richly detailed works of art'many of them for international restaurants, hotels, and established retailers such as Sofitel and Louis Vuitton. When commissioned by the South Korean department store Lotte to fill a central atrium in its Seoul emporium, the partners and founders of the Toronto-based design studio created a dazzling seven-story mobile made of reflective gold and silver butterflies, crystals, and glass beads.
The atrium, Lam explains, brings light and air down into spaces that are frequently dense with customers. 'At the same time, you're losing a lot of [important] ground for retail,' he adds. This is particularly true on the main floor, where the more showy labels'jewelry, perfume, and other high-end items'are 'located to attract shoppers.
'So the client asked us to come up with ideas to put something sculptural there,' says Lam. They wanted a piece that would both complement the expansive space and enhance a sense of luxury in that area. The scheme born of this marriage of art and commerce consists of 2,600 100-foot-long wires of brass mesh and polycarbonate, suspended from a copper framework that hangs from the ceiling.
Installing the piece was no small feat. The artists and their crew shipped the many components to South Korea in discrete boxes from their Toronto studio, where the duo's work is fabricated. 'As we designed them,' Lam says, 'there were very quick reassembly points.' He cites a tight construction schedule'a mere two weeks'as a further challenge. When the pieces arrived at the site, members of the project team fastened each module to the metal skeleton before they raised the glittering mobile to the full height of its new home. The work is Moss & Lam's second of its kind for Lotte. In 2009, the duo created 'Pisces,' a cascade of chrome fish, 190 feet high, that occupies the atrium of the company's Busan store. The artists' website lists the mobile as the world's largest.
'What we've enjoyed about this work is the fine line between craftsmanship and fabrication,' Lam says. 'It is a hybrid and an art piece, which is really what we're after.'