Dutch designer Petra Blaisse began her career as a curator (in applied arts at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam), became a freelance exhibition designer (earning critical and popular acclaim for her stunning architectural and sculptural installations), and then trained her focus on interiors. After acquiring further deftness with textiles, color, and light, she founded her studio Inside Outside—the team that is transforming the Wurtele Upper Garden at the Walker Art Center. Blaisse will describe that transformation during a talk Thursday, September 7, at 7:00 p.m., in the Walker Art Center cinema. Free tickets are available at the Walker’s main lobby desk starting at 6 p.m.
For this project, Blaisse collaborated during the sketch phase with two creatives of jaw-dropping aesthetic and cultural relevance today: architect David Adjaye, who designed the National Museum of African American History and Culture on Washington’s National Mall, and the artist Ai Wei Wei, whose bold, startling, politically challenging work has led to his imprisonment in China.
She describes the project on Inside Outside’s website: The new outdoor space changes a sloping open field into an iconic hill. Planting this hill with a series of rectangular tree groupings or “vegetal volumes,” each with their own identity, makes diverse use and experiences possible. She discusses the Walker’s new positioning as an “open field,” and how the Wurtele Upper Garden with its “sloped site is valued for its openness, flexibility, and visibility.”
Working with her group at Inside Outside, Blaisse adds, she connected “points of entrance and exits on all levels to one another by an energetically shaped path. A new trajectory improves accessibility for all visitors, opens up unexpected views, and leads the visitor to the various ‘tree rooms’ where performance, art, and learning can be enjoyed in the open air. With this new garden, Inside Outside provides new prospects for the Walker Art and its visitors.”
By Camille LeFevre