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Going Public

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

You can’t put a label on Lang and Baumann. The wide range of category-defying works they’ve created since partnering in 1990 inject whimsy and wonder into the built environment, challenging the public to interact with old space in new ways. We chat with them about blurring the boundaries between art and architecture. 

DB: How do you select your sites?

Daniel Baumann: We mostly get invited to create work at a specific site or in a specific room. We also have the opportunity to look for sites that fascinate us. For instance, we did “Spiral #3” for Valparaiso, Chile, after being invited to design a work somewhere in the city. We liked the idea of using an element that’s really typical in this city—there are several of these elevators and their structures are visible in the skyline—and creating a temporary work on this strange platform. 

DB: What types of architecture and environments inspire you?

Sabina Lang: Often we’re attracted by something, such as architecture, topography, or other elements, that is very present or well known, but which the inhabitants or users don’t really appreciate or look at anymore. We love to focus on forgotten things.

DB: You’ve said that you consider yourselves to be artists that use elements of architecture and design in your work. What’s the difference be- tween art and architecture?

SL: We believe that architecture is something that is built to be used. It requires a user, inhabitant or visitor. We use elements of architecture in our work not because we are looking for a user, but because they remind the viewer about something that is familiar to him or her and add an immedi- ate relation to his or her scale. 

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