Thinning Ice

Photo: Steve Benisty

Design Miami at Art Basel Miami Beach, Miami, FL

On View
December 3, 2014 - December 7, 2014


This immersive environment for contemplation and conversation about the world’s changing climate brought one of the most urgent issues of our time to the forefront of Design Miami 2014.

Studio Gang envisioned the exhibition as a lens, deploying the optical properties of Swarovski crystal and photographer James Balog’s sublime yet sobering images of glacial melt to focus attention on the urgent need for environmental action.

Sensitive to shifts in temperature, wind, and evaporation, ice loses its crystalline structure as it melts, assuming surprising, otherworldly forms. In documenting the world’s melting ice, Balog captures the beauty of these forms, yet his images also underscore the discomforting reality of the world’s changing climate.

Photo: Steve Benisty

Photo: Steve Benisty

Thinning Ice brings these fleeting glacial forms to subtropical Miami—one of many waterfront cities susceptible to extreme weather events. Human-scaled glacial structures establish a dynamic setting for dialogue on this critical issue. Embedded with a range of Swarovski crystal, from unprocessed fragments and shards to finely finished pieces, the structures’ voids echo the stunning yet disturbing formations of melting ice in Balog’s photographs, which enclose the display, defining the intimate scale of the space. Together, these captivating forms and imagery invite viewers to reflect on glacial melt and discuss the consequences of—and solutions to—the global climate crisis.

Photo: Steve Benisty

Unlike mined materials, which are extracted from the earth at considerable environmental and human cost, Swarovski crystal is sustainably engineered. Photo: Steve Benisty.

The structures’ melthole-like formations were first hand-carved in large blocks of wood and then CNC milled for the final installation. Embedded with Swarovski crystal, they evoke the glacial landscapes that Balog captures in his photography. Photo: Steve Benisty.

About the Exhibition

A collaboration with award-winning filmmaker and photographer James Balog and Swarovski, Thinning Ice was exhibited at Design Miami during Art Basel Miami Beach in 2014.

Film by James Balog, courtesy of NOWNESS


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