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Commissioned by Storm King for their 2012 Light and Landscape show, a show in which fourteen artists used natural light as an essential artistic material, this isolated hillside greenhouse actually has 162 amber-tinted windows made of caramelized sugar.
William Lamson baked the caramelized sugar into the windows of Solarium, tinting each a unique amber shade.
All plants create sugars through photosynthesis; those inside Solarium use light that has been filtered through sugars, a circular process. Weather permitting, Solarium is designed to be viewed from afar, where it appears as a jewel-like object, and from within, for the experience of its unusual plays of light.
William describes the project as follows:
"Like a mountain chapel or Thoreau’s one-room cabin, Solarium references a tradition of isolated outposts designed for reflection. Each of the 162 panels is made of sugar cooked to different temperatures and then sealed between two panes of window glass. The space functions as both an experimental greenhouse, growing three species of miniature citrus trees, and a meditative environment. In warm months, a 5x8 ft panel on each side of the house opens up to allow viewers to enter and exit the house from all directions. In addition to creating a pavilion like environment, this design references the architecture of a plant leaf, where the stomata opens and closes to help regulate the plants temperature. Set within the open the landscape, the house functions as a hybrid sanctuary at once evoking a plant conservatory, a chapel, and zen garden."
Materials: Steel, glass, sugar and plants
Dimensions: 10' 10" x 8' 11" x 10' 3 3⁄8 in. (330.2 x 271.8 x 313 cm)
William Lamson discusses the creation of Solarium, on view in Storm King's South Fields. Film by Kate Barker-Froyland:
images courtesy of William Lamson, Storm King and This is Colossal
A special shout out to Laughing Squid who brought this cool project to my attention.