Tangled Inside Jenny Sabin’s Spiderweb at MoMA PS1

The architect designs an immersive and interactive outdoor installation as part of the museum’s annual Young Architects Program.

Photo: Pablo Enriquez. Courtesy: MoMA PS1.

Walking around MoMA PS1’s latest outdoor installation, you get a sense of what it might feel like to be caught inside a spiderweb—or perhaps the center of a gauzy beehive. Until September 4, the museum’s expansive courtyard will be taken over by a million yards of digitally knitted and robotically woven fibers, all tangled into a honeycomb canopy. Sleeves of fabric dangle from the web, waiting to be activated by motion to mist spectators with a cold spritz of water. During the day, sunlight hits the fabric to cast an intricate spectrum of shade across the walls and floors of the space; by night, the textile takes on the luminescent hue of colorful lights projected from below.

Photo: Pablo Enriquez. Courtesy: MoMA PS1.

“Lumen” is the product of architect Jenny Sabin’s research on the intersections of architecture, science, biology, and mathematics—a topic she’s been investigating since 2012. The design won her the 18th edition of MoMA’s Young Architects Program, an annual competition that challenges architects to devise creative solutions to integrating shade, seating, and water in the exposed courtyard space, which serves as a setting for PS1’s summer Warm Up music series. For its 20th season, the line up for the Saturday evening fêtes (through September 2) include Jackmaster, ASAP Ferg, ACTRESS, Moor Mother, Laurel Halo, Mike Q, John Maus, Cardi B, Sophie, Jacques Greene, RP Boo, and collaborations between Total Freedom and Ryan Trecartin, among others. Day or night, it’s a web worth getting tangled up in.

Photo: Pablo Enriquez Courtesy: MoMA PS1.
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