DURING 3 DAYS OF DESIGN 2020, THE AUDO UNVEILED A NEW EXHIBITION WITH DANISH ARCHITECT AND DESIGN DUO ATELIER PLATEAU, TITLED BEYOND THE SURFACE. THE COLLABORATIVE COLLECTION TAKES INSPIRATION FROM THE AUDO’S NEW INTERIOR DESIGN CONCEPT AND EXPLORES MODERNIST FORM AND COLOUR THROUGH A SERIES OF LIMITED-EDITION, HANDMADE WALL RELIEFS FINISHED WITH ST. LEO’S SUSTAINABLE DOLOMITE PLASTER. IN CELEBRATION OF THE EXHIBITION, WE VISITED ATELIER PLATEAU’S COPENHAGEN STUDIO TO OBSERVE ANNE AND MIKKEL’S CREATIVE PROCESS AND DISCUSS THE INSPIRATION AND PHILOSOPHY BEHIND THEIR PRACTICE.
THE AUDO: PLEASE TELL US ABOUT ATELIER PLATEAU?
Atelier Plateau: We are a creative studio exploring the creation of unique, handmade wall reliefs. All the art pieces we make focus on the interplay between light, shadow and textures. With these conditions and depending on the movement of the light within a certain space, each wall relief takes on a different expression. Based in Copenhagen, our studio was established in the beginning of 2020 and we draw daily inspiration from Scandinavian design heritage and craftsmanship—striving to bring this into the development of our reliefs. Our vision is to encourage the observer to be present in the moment and to reflect. We believe that is an important gesture in today’s society.
TA: WHAT ARE THE MAIN ELEMENTS OF YOUR PIECES?
AP: Our wall reliefs are all handmade in our studio. We use wood materials painted with eco-friendly paint and plaster. In the construction of each relief, we work with monochrome plateaus in various depths to create different light and shadow conditions. We always aim to add atmosphere to a space without demanding excessive attention, and instead find ways to go into dialogue with the space itself.
TA: WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS FROM CONCEPT TO REALISATION?
AP: Our creative methodology is always anchored in a visual atlas of atmospheres, colours, materials, textures and moments to create a point of departure for our ‘inspiration’ phase. Continuing into our ‘composing’ phase, we experiment with form with a focus on the interplay between light and shadow. From here we develop our art pieces further in the ‘detailing’ phase, where our process goes beyond the form alone to deeper explorations into colours and textures. Throughout each phase we always strive to balance the impression and the expression in a subtle manner.
TA: WHERE DO YOU DRAW INSPIRATION?
AP: In our work we aim to have an equal sense of history, time and Genius Loci (a “Sense of Place”). In a time where our living and sensing is dominated by digital realms, our wall reliefs reintroduce a thousand-year-old tradition rooted in the physical sensing of our inhabited surroundings. Reliefs with motifs, patterns and tales, made of wood, are a well-known and cherished tradition around the world. With the explorations into light and shadow, we encourage the observer to spend time in the space to experience the changing expressions of each wall relief as the time and conditions in the space change. The interplay between the wall relief and the space itself is essential. In our bespoke Beyond The Surface collection, we strive to identify the sense of space and to study existing materials, colours and details.
TA: HOW DOES YOUR EXPERIENCE AS ARCHITECTS IMPACT OR INSPIRE YOUR WORK AS ATELIER PLATEAU?
AP: With our professional background in architecture and spatial design, we perceive our wall reliefs as a natural continuation of our past work. We explore and challenge the experience and perception of our surroundings through our collection—as it is equally about the space as it is about form. These observations are anchored in how we experience surfaces, light, and the elements around us. We are fascinated with how a subtle change in a surface can transform the atmosphere in a space. As spatial practitioners, our aim is to orchestrate the balance between the proportions of the space, the light conditions and the remaining interior.
TA: HOW DO YOU APPROACH YOUR RELATIONSHIP AS A CREATIVE DUO AND COUPLE?
A.P: We appreciate our ability to merge our working and private lives, as well as our family life. We strive to have a continuous creative process where both of us can equally contribute our individual ideas and aspirations. As partners, it is also essential that we share the same overall aims and have a common understanding of how and when we wish to work, finding a holistic balance in our everyday.
TA: HOW HAVE YOU APPROACHED YOUR WORK DURING CORONA, AND HOW HAS THIS TIME OF ISOLATION AND REFLECTION IMPACTED YOU?
AP: During Corona it has become increasingly essential for us to be surrounded by physical objects that appeal to all of our senses, in a time where our external communication has been especially virtual. In our home we have therefore made more space for inspiration and brought materials and samples from our atelier to strengthen that process. The lockdown period has also given us the reflection time to concentrate and immerse ourselves in the Beyond The Surface collection.
TA: HOW DID THE BEYOND THE SURFACE PROJECT COME ABOUT?
AP: When we first received the invitation from The Audo, Beyond the Surface was immediately a collaboration we wanted to take on. Both because of the opportunity to develop a site-specific collection in such inspiring surroundings as The Audo, and as a means of experimenting with the textures and colours of St. Leo’s Dolomite Plaster. This bespoke collection holds the values that we appreciate and has culminated in a range of wall reliefs celebrating the different spaces and atmosphere at The Audo. The project has brought us both inspiration and joy.
TA: PLEASE DESCRIBE THE CONCEPT BEHIND THE COLLECTION.
AP: Beyond The Surface is an exploration of Modernist forms and colours—in synergy with The Audo’s new interior design concept. Taking in the existing spaces of The Audo, we immediately felt inspired by all the architectural details. We closely studied the existing materials, colours and textures as an investigative process to inform our art pieces. Each wall relief has been developed for a specific location at The Audo and we have carefully selected the colours to work in harmony with their context. This dialogue between the spaces and our art pieces has been the backbone of our whole process. In combination with the form making, our collaboration with the talented team behind St. Leo has been a journey into new materiality and the art of mixing colours.
TA: TELL US MORE ABOUT THE MATERIALS AND COLOURS USED IN THE COLLECTION.
AP: For Beyond The Surface, we have worked with St. Leo on a combination of existing Dolomite Plaster colours, as well as several custom hues made especially for the collection—each inspired by The Audo’s Modernist interior design concept. The bold and rich red colour, for instance, draws upon the Bauhaus universe and also serves as a reference to the exterior facade of The Audo. When taken together, the colours of the wall reliefs blend into the existing context whilst creating dynamic accents. The artworks have been greatly impacted by the beautiful colours and textures from St. Leo, which provide unique and lively surfaces. All the colours were hand-mixed by St. Leo from natural, powder pigments and we have aimed to retain the material’s authenticity in each relief.
TA: ARE THERE ANY PARTICULAR PIECES IN THE COLLECTION THAT YOU ARE MOST EXCITED ABOUT?
AP: Through this project we have been exploring larger scales than we are typically accustomed to. For instance we made a five-meter tall wall relief, which is our largest piece so far. We are fascinated with the experience the different scales provide to the viewer, and how the light travels across large surfaces to create a sense of spaciousness.
TA: HOW DOES THE BEYOND THE SURFACE COLLECTION RELATE TO THE INTERIOR DESIGN CONCEPT OF THE AUDO?
AP: Beyond The Surface as a concept originates from The Audo’s new interior design, which unveils during 3 Days of Design. Each wall relief has been developed for a specific location at The Audo and we have carefully selected the colours to work in harmony with their context. This dialogue between the spaces and our art pieces has been the backbone of our whole process.