A spherical sculpture by architects Bjarke Ingels and Jakob Lange, an ornate temple, and a walkway made from recycled ocean plastic were featured at the annual Burning Man festival in western Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.
Burning Man took place this year on location for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, during which it took place online, with a diverse range of installations.
The festival is perhaps best known for depicting a man being burned on the last night of the week-long event.
With the goal of leaving no traces and functioning without official currency, participants gather at the collection of camps and art collectively called Black Rock City and must take, build, and tear down the installations in the often hostile desert conditions.
Each designer has to plan the installation and shipment of their materials due to the decentralized activities of the festival, which attracts more than 70,000 visitors.
In 2022, many of the installations focused on recycled materials, including a luminous sculpture made from plastic recovered from the ocean. Many also took into account the need for shade in the desert, which festival-goers call the “playa.”
Read on to see some of this year’s installs:
Empyrean Temple by Laurence Renzo Verbeck
What remains the same every year at Burning Man is the presence of a monumental temple made of wood that is also burned at the end of the festival.
Every year the designer changes. This year Laurence Renzo Verbeck of Colorado designed an eight-pointed star oriented around a central collecting area.
Above the central gathering area was a gem-shaped core filled with lights that illuminated at night the complex latticework that ran along the sides of the points.
Project Carillon by Steven Brummond
Designer Steven Brummond chose to use recycled plywood for this 48-foot tall clock tower. According to the designer, the panels were arranged to look like a herringbone or porcupine.
“This pattern filters light to make the tower glow from within,” says Brummond.
Participants could climb the tower to interact with a series of ropes connected to 99 bells installed on the heights of the structure.
The SKUM Thundercloud by Bjarke Ingels and Jakob Lange
Bjarke Ingels and Jakob Lange, partners at the Danish architecture studio BIG, designed a spherical installation for the festival. In Danish, skum means foam and the design is made of an inflatable material similar to the material used in the construction of hot air balloons.
During the day, the structure provided shade and at night, the interior was lit by “lightning strikes” that responded to outside noise.
“When a sound – man-made or natural – occurs near SKUM, the lightning strikes stop – they don’t start again until quiet serenity returns,” the designers said.
Unbound by Jules and David Nelson-Gal
This Romanesque edifice in the desert was conceived by artists Jules and David Nelson-Gal as a “temple of human thought, transformed by time, space and energy”.
More than 3,000 books were deconstructed and framed to create the library. Three internal rooms allowed participants to view the exposed ceiling of the structure.
Inside, sconces, chandeliers made from book pages and tables were included.
Titan by Marcus Vinicius De Paula
Titan is deep in the desert, away from the camps and not on the festival map. According to the artist, it was meant to reward people with a sense of adventure.
Two massive slabs of black granite from Zimbabwe were installed, with a combined weight of 2,000 pounds (907 kilograms), and lit from below.
“This piece, along with my wider body of work, carefully considers the use of sustainable materials, which emerged both before and long after the existence of the human race,” said De Paula. “The granite in this work dates back 500 million years.”
Catharsis by Arthur Mamou-Manic
French architect Arthur Mamou-Mani designed a fractal gallery and amphitheater for this year’s festival.
The wooden roof was cut through long pieces of fabric to provide shade, with the entire structure oriented to a central point.
“This infinite space has seven gates that soar to the sky and become increasingly intricate and intimate, creating a dream-like series of galleries and podium spaces where everyone can use and place all kinds of art,” says Mamou-Mani.
Before being installed at the festival, the first design was opened digitally through a metaverse installation, which people could visit during Dezeen’s Virtual Design Festival.
The Museum of No Spectators by John Marx and J Absinthia Vermut
Architect John Marx and artist J Abinthia Vermut designed an open-air art gallery called the Museum of No Spectators that aims to challenge what the designers see as the “elitist” nature of galleries.
Constructed with a steel frame supporting aluminum panels, the gallery allowed participants to take and leave art on the walls as they pleased.
Marx described the structure as a “building with its unusually shaped galleries, appearing part machine, part creature, part abstract and surreal form”.
Solar Shrine by Antwane Lee and Collective
Designed with elements of ancient Egyptian and Nubian mythology in mind, Solar Shrine featured a columned temple and a huge vertical “gate”.
Made of wood wrapped in plywood, the structure featured a series of fire elements that shot flames into the sky.
“The height of the art installation elements, starting with the high gate, symbolizes the power of the sun as it rises in the east, with gradually diminishing structures in the west representing the waning of its power,” the artists said.
The Last Ocean by Jen Lewin
Artist Jen Lewin created an installation with interactive tiles and a sculpture of a polar bear, all made from plastic collected from the ocean.
The shape of the floorboards was based on the pentagonal tiles developed by mathematician Marjorie Rice.
In the process, Lewin came across the lack of manufacturers working with recycled ocean plastic in the United States and eventually commissioned South African company Ocean Plastic Technologies for the fabrication.
Paradise by Dave Keane & Folly Builders
Derived entirely from salvage, Paradisium was designed to represent an “extensive forest ecosystem” in the middle of the desert.
The designers created a series of trees with graphic elements on the side. The top four served as perches for the participants, while small pods were added to provide more shade.
“Paradisium is a forest made of trees, long fallen, that reminds us of the beauty of the forest and our interconnectedness and interdependence with nature, while also promoting a sense of community and an investment in our shared future,” he said. the team.
The Effigy of 2022 by Aaron Muszalski
Each year, a different designer takes center stage for the festival’s “Man”, a sculptural human form that is burned on the last day of the festival.
Using a dream sequence from Chinese literature as inspiration to stick to this year’s festival theme – waking dreams – Muszalski decorated the structure with symbols and placed it on a temple-like pedestal.
Burning Man took place from Sunday, August 28 to Monday, September 5 in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events happening around the world