• Client:
  • La Rinascente
  • Location:
  • Milan, Italy
  • Status:
  • Completed 2010
  • Size:
  • 20sqm


The ‘origami coral reef’ Christmas window used 1500 recycled and recyclable cardboard molecules. It played with space climbing walls and ceilings to create coral caves, animated with dynamic lighting and sound.

LAVA created a window installation for the Italian department store la Rinascente for its Vetrine di Natale 2010 [Christmas Windows].

LAVA’s origami coral reef used 1500 recycled and recyclable cardboard molecules and explored the intelligence of natural and architectural systems. The sculpture played with space by climbing up walls and arching over to create coral caves. Based on the geometrical structures of sea foam and corals, the colourful reef came to life through dynamic lighting and sound.

LAVA was one of seven designers from around the world to be commissioned to create a window. The store windows were at la Rinascente at Piazza Duomo, in the centre of Milan, and this was the first time la Rinascente commissioned artists to do Christmas windows.

The installation showed how a particular module, copied from nature, can generate architectural space, and how the intelligence of the smallest unit dictates the intelligence of the overall system. Ecosystems such as coral reefs act as a metaphor for an architecture where the individual components interact in symbiosis to create an environment.

In urban terms, the smallest homes, the spaces they create, the energy they use, the heat and moisture they absorb, multiply into a bigger organisational system, whose sustainability depends on their intelligence.

Current trends in parametric modelling, digital fabrication and material-science were applied to the space-filling installation.


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Design: Toko / Development: Damien Aistrope