36 Ways To Reconsider The Weather

Guests at Milan Design Week 2014 can think abstractly about the weather at the “laboratory” known as Creative Climates. The 36 pieces on display at this conceptual art installation are the compelling result of a partnership between design think tank Fabrica (with Moleskine as a sponsor) and Daikin, a Japanese company that makes air conditioning systems.

The Fabrica designers have a talent for thinking outside the box, and Creative Climates is no exception: Each piece is a physical, kinetic, and highly symbolic expression of the weather. They’re perplexing, and frankly sublime to behold.

One thing this installation tells us is that we’re not particularly expressive when it comes to conveying what weather means. We generally understand seasons as the annual ebb and flow between hot and cold temperatures. Fabrica understands it as a motorized sculpture with hand-painted feathers that mimics the migratory patterns of five birds.

We think of air as invisible. But in Creative Climates, air is expressed by a hanging series of borosilicate glass tubes (that spell A-I-R), and the heat from an oil lantern burns a black char on the glass. It lets you actually see the air in the tubes.

The most esoteric installation in the group is also the most riveting: A clutch of plants, including cacti, aloe vera, and birds of paradise flowers, are on display, trapped in giant ice cubes. As the ice melts away, petals and leaves start to protrude through the sides of the botanical ice sculptures. It’s a strange visualization of heat, time, and flora in bloom, all at once.

Creative Climates will be on display for Milan Design Week 2014 until April 13, 2014.