In their first exhibition in Berlin, burkhalter sumi architekten focus on the relationship between sensuality and density. Their interest in the subject comes from the current building task that primarily serves the restructuring of industrial areas and expansion of existing settlements from the 1950s. The resulting density of public space brings up topical questions surrounding classical ideas of interlocking outside space with facades: How do facade constructions enable various sensual perception, what tectonic logic is inherent in constructive sections and how do individual pieces relate to each other? Burkhalter and Sumi are interested not only in the potential of this density, but also its limits. This is why they examine the relationship between public space and its usage and pursue the question of whether urban space not only absorbs public usage and thus the public, but also constitutes and represents it.
In the exhibition, the subject of sensual density is translated into a hanging installation of floor-to-ceiling banners. The banners’ staggered order compresses the gallery space into a series of areas of various sizes, whose sensual density can be physically experienced. Different colors simulate the broad spectrum of possible effects of perception. But the influence of constructive elements on sensory perception also makes the large-scale sections of facade clear on the banners: The jumps in scale, differing reveals and layers from projecting parts extend the two-dimensional surface quality of color and materiality into a complex object of research.
Marianne Burkhalter and Christian Sumi established their office in 1984 and now work in partnership with Yves Schihin and Urs Rinklef. They achieved international renown through the innovative application of wood construction, as well as through their extensive study of color. Currently, the focus of their work is on existing buildings, in addition to housing projects. Both Marianne Burkhalter and Christian Sumi have taught at the Accademia di Archittettura in Mendrisio since 2008.