Karen Orton
and Santiago Tarditi

Immersive architecture and art at festivals can act as a gateway into another realm–inviting people to interact with a structure and offering opportunities for connection and contemplation. Increasingly, architects and artists who create interactive, temporary structures at gatherings are using form to experiment with radical ideas around collaboration and new ways of living.

Whether it’s Danish starchitect Bjarke Ingels’s giant mirrored orb at Burning Man, American artist Phillip K. Smith III’s lighting sculpture at Coachella, or South African artist Daniel Popper’s upcoming sculpture which will reinterpret ancient Cycladic art and mythology during Further Mykonos: The Eternal Festival, a collaborative festival between Scorpios and Design Hotels, temporary architecture and art have become a legitimate platform for innovative architectural practices that reimagine public and outdoor space in playful and imaginative ways.

French architect Arthur Mamou-Mani designed Galaxia, the temple at Burning Man 2018, and has been bringing his architecture students from the University of Westminster to the gathering for years. “It’s an architectural playground of experimentation," he says. His firm London-based Mamou-Mani Architects, created an immense spiraling wooden temple and built it together with a huge team of collaborators. “Burning Man is a place where we as architects can free ourselves from normal conditions, and with the rise of digital fabrication, laser cutting and 3D printing, it’s a great place to try all of this out.” Arthur will consider these ideas together with Dezeen founder and editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs at a panel discussion on contemporary art and architecture at Further Mykonos: The Eternal Festival, a three-day music and arts festival at Scorpios. The event will also explore the preservation of musical and dance traditions, and the history of Delia and Delos.

The highlight will be Daniel Popper’s large-scale sculptural installation, which delves into Greek mythology and shows Leto giving birth to Apollo, a metaphorical bridge between Scorpios and the neighboring island of Delos. “I wanted to create an artwork for the space that ties the sculpture together with ancient Aegean culture and Greek mythology,” Daniel explains. “Ancient Cycladic art really flourished in the islands of the Aegean Sea from c.3300 to 1100 BCE.” He adds, “I’m hoping that visitors will bring their attention to the amazing forms of ancient Aegean sculpture as well as the fascinating story of Leto in Greek Mythology. I hope to create a space for small intimate ceremonies and conversations and encounters.”

In anticipation of Further Mykonos: The Eternal Festival, we take a look at some of our favourite pieces of immersive architecture, from artist Marisha Farnsworth’s Burning Man temple dedicated hundreds of millions of trees that have died in California's forests, to artist Patrick Dougherty's monumental sculptural installations that decay over time.