Location: the city of Bagor Wales.
The Essential Dwelling
The Essential Dwelling is an imaginary tribal dwelling which takes humankind back to its origins, recalling a primitive state of being. Its appearance was dictated from the inside out, its interior spaces look like they were hewn out of stone, sculpted around the basic amenities needed for living – an ultimate example of “Form follows Function”.
Like the tribal objects, the Essential Dwelling makes a link with the modernist movement. Its organic shapes and primitive production methods, however, make it the complete opposite of Modernism. The sculpture is at the same time contemporary and idealistic, as well as primeval and archaic.
Domestikator is a large scale artwork that serves as a totem, a temple and a beacon. It symbolizes the power of humanity over the world and pays tribute to the ingenuity, the sophistication and the capacities of humanity, to the power of organisation, and to the use of this power to dominate the natural environment. In order to support 7 billion people, agriculture has become an industry, with factory farming and genetic manipulation a necessity. This provides us with an ethical dilemma, as this kind of farming seems to border on abuse. At the same time, the literal abuse of animals, bestiality, is one of the last remaining taboos. Why is it that treating an animal like a fellow human is an unspeakable act, whilst treating an animal like a resource for industrial production is the norm?
Domestikator is part of the larger installation The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The Good the Bad and the Ugly is a temporary settlement in Bochum, Germany that was designed for the Ruhrtriennale, a festival for theatre, music, dance and arts.
The Original Dwelling
Atelier Van Lieshout’s sculpture the Original Dwelling is simultaneously a luxurious hang-out and imaginary tribal dwelling; the work takes humankind back to its origins, recalling a primitive state of being.
The Original Dwelling is part of the ongoing series New Tribal Labyrinth which presents a vision of a future, yet primitive, world inhabited by imaginary tribes where there will be different ethics. This world will see a return to farming and industry, to rituals and rites. Atelier Van Lieshout’s cave-like structure fits into a long tradition of troglodyte cave dwellings, which have housed humanity for centuries. This sculpture is at the same time contemporary, idealistic, as well as primeval, making it ‘The Original Dwelling’ in every sense of the word.
The Original Dwelling’s appearance is dictated from the inside out. The interior spaces look like they were hewn out of stone, sculpted around one’s personal wishes and fantasies – an extreme example of ‘Form follows Function’. The Original Dwelling makes a link with the Modernist Movement, but its organic shapes and primitive production methods challenge Modernism.
For the near future, Atelier Van Lieshout foresees the emergence of a new tribal world, a primitive society where production takes centre stage. This world will see a return to farming and industry – which currently both have been banished from our society – and a re-establishment of our relationship with materials – which now has been lost. In this new world, ethics will be of little importance. Instead, rituals will be re-valued, and will offer the tribes of the future guidance.
Atelier Van Lieshout is taking an advance on this future, and is creating all necessary equipment for the imaginary tribes, ranging from items of worship and sacrifice to objects for daily use, dwellings and machines. All these artworks together make the huge Gesamtkunstwerk that is New Tribal Labyrinth.
Farming is one of a pillars of the New Tribal Labyrinth. Atelier van Lieshout will create farms for the future, but also from the pre-history, the year zero, the Middle Ages, the Golden Age, and post-war modernist utopia. The final goal is to create a larger than life farm which consist of all the individual farms, connected by tunnels, corridors, doors and hatches. By entering this farm, visitors will engage in labyrinth-like time-travel through the ages, past history, hope, family, utopia, self sufficiency, design and deviancy.
Hagioscoop is the first of this series, a large cross-shaped diorama set in the imaginary date of “year zero”. It consists of four parts: an large Adobe style kitchen, cave-like sleeping quarters, a deconstructivist carpenters workshop and a rough stable. The farm can be entered on the inside, but also viewed from the outside through small openings – comparable to the small windows which can be found in some churches, which enabled outcasts to witness the celebration of mass from outside – the so-called Hagioscoop.
Atelier van Lieshout developed a high tech farm for the future called the Insect Farm, where insects will be bred as high protein, low carbon foot print solution for feeding the increasing world population.
Huge change is no longer in the past or future but in the present. Our society as we know it and have known to be safe is fast-changing. Value systems of yesterday are no longer relevant. A new civilization is ahead of us. This ideological society offers choice; are we able to find alternate ways of living, another model or are our days counted? The changing climate, growing poverty, wars an more are only expanding. This movable nomadic dwelling unit provides shelter from this disconcerting situation. The armored shelter is made from old steel plates recuperated from demolished boats together with other leftover material from our current society. The material due to its previous life is crooked, damaged and irregular. There is no straight edge to be constructed from these disastrous supplies. The Cabin looks like an improvised defense / attack apparatus made by a local blacksmith in order to have a better chance of survival in times of revolution and civil war. Inside you find an improvised toilet, woodstove, and benches. It is virtually indestructible.
Dynamo is a self-supporting unit that functions as a mobile hotel room. The interior is not much larger than a double bed and is equipped with the basics: a mattress, sheets, blankets, a nightlight and an electricity outlet.
For the new School of Architecture in Nantes Atelier Van Lieshout has made l’Absence. As a sculpture, l’Absence fits into the architectural constraints of the site. The result is a moving and living mass, with multiple protuberances, incarnation of an instinctive gesture, without any delimitation or any function. A living space where we wish discussions will happen. L’Absence is in turn a bar, a sculpture, a comment on today’s architecture that will, without a doubt, fuel students’ imagination.
For the Zuiderzeemuseum in Enkhuizen Atelier Van Lieshout made Huize Organus. This multi-functional unit is placed on a small dyke in the museumpark. The unit consists of several elements of which the large part houses the complete digestive system from tongue to rectum. The largest part of this ‘microworld’ is blown up to massive proportion so that people can enter. Grown out of this sculpture is the clip-on compost toilet. On the other side the female reproductive organs are attached. In this Wombhouse you will find a small bedroom, where one can sleep in the most save place one can imagine on earth, the womb.
This large purple sperm is blown up to extreme proportion. The head of the sperm can be entered, inside a bed and a small desk are placed. Darwin implies power, status, expansion and reproduction. It reflects social Darwinism ideas and the need for survival in all aspects of our lives, whether biological or corporate. The work was first installed at Scape Biennal, the biennal in public space, Christchurch, New Zealand autumn 2008.
Location: Verbeke Foundation, Belgium.
The Wellness Skull is an impressive large skull. Just like wellness centers it has a few places to relax. In the neck of the skull is a small bath. The head of the Skull contains a sauna. When it is working the hot steam pears out of the eye sockets. Joep van Lieshout about the Wellness Skull: “The heavenly power is the big unknown, the death of the hereafter, the skull of physical shell of the mind. The earthly power is an economical power, money plays an important role in our contemporary society. Gradually the faith loses all importance and is replaced by an alternative ‘self-experience’, through travelling, sporting and wellness centres.”
Sensory Deprivation Skull
This small skull is inspired by the Study Skulls and other Skulls Joep van Lieshout made in the late nineties. Making use of the minimal space needed for the body to relax this unit opens out to reveal a room in which the user can escape the sensory clutter of modern life.
A meeting point for elderly people: beautiful, cruel and sensual, with a nice interior space. Both art and architecture, BikiniBar represents a building as a sculpture and a sculpture as a building. There is a place to rest inside, where people can withdraw from the busy beach life or bad weather. BikiniBar is the only female body you can enter without permission.
Coffin for Peter Giele
Location: Cementery Zorgvliet, Amsterdam
Wombhouse is a utility unit that acts as the technical core for a house. The womb is not only every human’s first dwelling, but also the only human body part that can be inhabited by another individual. Prefabricated, the technical core contains all of the essential functions of a building: sanitation, kitchen, heating, ventilation. Normally, this core is an anonymous, square object. By contrast, Wombhouse has an exciting, poetic and enchanting shape. The womb contains a bedroom in the uterus – the safest place in the mind of human beings – along with heating, air-conditioning, electrical systems, a kitchen and a shower. One ovary contains the minibar; the other the toilet. Wombhouse can make any space function as a home; the structure requires only a roof and walls to protect it from the climate. Put the plug in the socket, and everything will work.
For family doctor and art collector, Dr Van Sint Fiet. AVL redesigned, refurbished and rebuilt his practice – the reception, the examination room, the laboratory – while adding a clip-on to the building for personal consultations. AVL took out the walls of his office and replaced them with organically-shaped partitions and furniture. These shapes create a more functional space. The furniture looks as if it has grown right there on the spot. The Practice forms a place where people feel welcome and free to discuss all kind of matters with the doctor. An extra parasite on the outside of the building – a crystal-like room – can be used for more intense and intimate conversations with the patients.
The Classical Music Room
This room is about 6,5 meters high with a lounge to relax and platform to sleep. These separate rooms are connected by a vertical bathroom topped by stairs. The lounge refers to a baroque version of a classic hotel lounge with a grand piano and chesterfield sofa’s. The platform is designed to rest and for sanitary use.
The Rock Music Room
This hotel room is mainly refurbished with wood, hanging free inside the hotel space to muffle had sounds. A Multi women bed is installed for the groupies and all kind of equipment is available to play all night long without disturbing any other hotel guests. Even the windows can be blocked with panels to arrange the night being ever lasting.
Satellite des Sens
Satellite des Sens was commissioned when the city of Lille carried the annual title of Cultural Capital of Europe in 2004. Eager to include children in the celebrations, the organizers asked AVL to create a mobile unit, which could travel around to different schools. Once parked, the unit welcomed 12 children – aged three to six – along with an adult companion, and invited them to take another kind of trip: an artistic discovery tour of the five senses. The children can hear, see, feel, smell and even taste their way through the spacious green caravan to become conscious about the body’s senses in a fun and informative way. The caravan’s exterior – which looks like a bright green, friendly monster – is an experience in itself, stimulating the 5 senses. Created in close collaboration with a team of specialists – trailer builders, engineers, sculptors, sound artists and pedagogues – AVL’s Satellite des Sens is a surrealistic dream object on wheels. Collection city of Lille
The Disciplinator has a mathematical precision in its design, facilities and functions. Based on multiples of four, the elements are intended to be used 24 hours a day by a slave force of 72 inmates. There are 24 bunk beds that can be occupied three times a day; 24 places to eat with 24 cups and 24 dishes; 36 places to work and 36 files with which the slaves complete the useless task of reducing tree trunks to sawdust; and four toilets, four showers, four cups and eight toothbrushes (so two inmates can brush their teeth at the same time). Running like a clock, The Disciplinator produces little else beyond the passage of time and sawdust. In this nightmare, total functionality meets total futility. Designed and filled with the same precision as space, time becomes indistinguishable from an architectural blueprint.
Collection MAK Vienna
Mini Capsule Side Entrance (6 units)
Mini Capsule Front Entrance, Mini Capsule Side Entrance (6 units) can be viewed as a people farm. Stacked together, the units look like a large fibreglass rabbit hutch, if not the hutches of the mobile Pioneer Set. Each of the six hotel units has space to sleep two people; the interior is not much larger than a double bed and is equipped with the basics: a mattress, sheets, blankets, a nightlight, clothing hooks, an electricity outlet and a shelf. A modest version of Maxi Capsule Luxus, the Mini Capsule is made to function as a budget hotel without staff.
AVL Franchise Unit
After the closure of AVL-Ville, AVL decided to go into franchising to explore its ideas for alternative living with more ease and less hassle from the Dutch authorities. As a franchise, AVL-Ville became an international brand, which could be purchased along with the services and hardware needed to start a new Free State. This franchise was set up at the Middelheim Open Air Museum in Antwerp. The unit features two converted containers in which the basic equipment is concentrated: a large kitchen, sanitary facilities with compost toilets, solar energy panels, heating and electricity. AVL also provided an ecological infrastructure for dealing with waste water: green filters and fat dividers, pumps and composters. Everything was connected to a cheap industrial hall. The franchise units can be coupled or connected to an existing building or a new structure. Collection Museum Middelheim, Antwerp
Maxi Capsule Luxus
A larger version of the Mini Capsule, Maxi Capsule Luxus is an entirely self-supporting unit that functions as a mobile hotel room. Its luxuries include a king-size bed, a minibar, an entertainment centre for listening to music and watching films, a heating and ventilation system along with storage facilities for luggage and clothing. Everything is sealed with the shade of love: red fibreglass, red leather, soft red carpet upholstering on the floor, walls and ceiling. The red cube is a machine for concentration and retreat, which contains its comforts inside while carrying its equipment on the exterior surfaces. The technical capacities outside of the cube can provide a contrast to what’s happening inside. Private collection, Milan
Private collection, Milan
3M Minimal Multi Mobile
3M is an exercise in design restraint. AVL made every element as simple and as straightforward as possible in this mobile unit. Beyond the steering wheel, most of the automobile parts were mounted on the body; thus, the headlamps are not built in but rather screwed on to the vehicle’s surface in a crude and minimal way. The driver’s seat is an AVL-Shaker Chair, which can be removed once the 3M has reached its destination.
Caldenborg Chicken Coop
Chickens can really hit the road with this minivan, which has been outfitted with a high-tech, electro-hydraulically motorized chicken run. Caldic collection, Rotterdam
After several visits to the slums (favelas) of São Paulo, AVL developed the idea of establishing a working relationship with the favela dwellers. Five façades with windows and doors were made for this purpose in typical AVL style. The plan was to give the façades to the future inhabitants and let them finish building the house on site with locally available materials. The organic way of building that is characteristic of the favelas is appealing; the houses are built on top of each other and next to each other in a haphazard fashion, with no concern for the streets, infrastructure or accessibility to the building. Ultimately, the form of the houses and the city is determined by acute need, available materials and money.
A small, self-sufficient house inside a 20-foot container. The interior is entirely made of wood and can be securely sealed with steel shutters. Originally equipped with a sex machine, Darkroom now offers the familiar comforts of a bed and a working area. On the roof, there is a compost toilet with a built-in kitchen and a green filter. Houwert Collection, Schaarsbergen
AVL Headquarters and Hall of Delights
Built for AVL-Ville, the Hall of Delights functioned as a canteen, a restaurant and a clubhouse. The hall was fashioned from seven sea containers which were welded together and whose interior dividing walls had been removed. Everything that tastes good found a home here. A variety of guest cooks – artists, gourmet chefs or regional cooking fanatics – were invited to prepare the delightful feasts. AVL’s plan was to pay for the costs of the Free State with income from the restaurant, where guests could eat very good food at a very good price. The Hall of Delights was closed with AVL-Ville.
AVL’s raft was created after the local authorities closed the Hall of Delights in AVL-Ville. The restaurant did not have a liquor license, among other permits. AVL decided to make a floating restaurant since no licenses are required at sea. Built of scaffolding and inflatable pontoons, the raft has a kitchen, a dining area, sleeping spaces, a compost toilet and an outdoor shower. The front of the raft sports a large penis, the Pitiful One.
Spelersbad FC Utrecht
Location: Stadion Galgenwaard, FC Utrecht (NL)
Alesco Interior Design for Daros Collection Zürich
For the Daros collection in Zurich, AVL designed this reception area and added a soundproof bunker under the staircase. Normally, museums have cold surroundings; there is no space for love. Inside the bunker, which includes a bed, handles and other equipment, one can retreat without being disturbed and without disturbing anyone else. Collection Daros collection, Zürich
In AVL-Ville Greenhouse, vegetable and herbs are cultivated according to organic principles and without artificial heating. The greenhouse was not made by AVL, but it fully complies with the atelier’s style: the inexpensive structure can be easily transported from one location to another.