Philippe Rahm: decorative style in a new age of global warming

Updated: Sep 11, 2019

"The Anthropocene Style: decorative style in a new age of global warming" is the first solo exhibition in the US of award-winning, Paris-based Swiss architect Philippe Rahm. It manifests the artist’s ideas surrounding the urgency of climate change through an architecture and design process that takes meteorology, atmosphere, and physiology as its primary material.

© Image credit: Philippe Rahm architectes, The Effusivity Carpet, preparatory diagram for The Anthropocene Style, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.

Curated by Hesse McGraw.

Presented in partnership with Swissnex San Francisco.

Supported by Etant Donnés Contemporary Art, a program of FACE Foundation, developed in partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States

Rahm has developed an innovative approach that promises a rethinking of the field of design within what is known as the Anthropocene era, by a new approach, more sensitive and attentive to the invisible, climate-related aspect of space. It will model a design that integrates materials such as fabrics, lighting, and patterns into interior building design, a contrast to the spare, minimalist “white cube” style of the later twentieth century. In its sparseness, the white cube aesthetic often relies on artificial heating and cooling systems that use precious resources and produce harmful elements, hastening global warming and contributing to an unsustainable future.

“Climate change is forcing us to rethink architecture radically, to shift our focus away from a purely visual and functional approach towards one that is more sensitive, more attentive to the invisible, climate-related aspects of space. Might not climate be a new architectural language, a language for architecture rethought with meteorology in mind? Between the infinitely small scale of the physiological and the infinitely vast scale of the meteorological, architecture must build sensual exchanges between body and space and invent new approaches capable of making long-term changes to the form and the way we will inhabit buildings tomorrow.” Philippe Rahm

© Philippe Rahm, Spectral Light, video still, Artemide Showroom Corso Monforte, Milan, 2015. Photo by Gabriele Demarin, Artemide, Milan.

Philippe Rahm (b.1976) develops work for which he has received an international audience extending the field of architecture from the physiological to the meteorological in the context of sustainability. He started teaching architectural design at the Graduate School of Design in Harvard in 2014.


Exhibtion : March 29, 2018 – May 19, 2018. Opening reception: Thursday, March 29, 6-9pm

Syposium : The Anthropocene Style. Architecture, urgency, and climate change

April 28, 2018, 10am-6pm

Where: San Francisco Art Institute - Walter and McBean Galleries (800 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA 94133)

More info: San Francisco Art Institute / Symposium the Anthropocene Style / Philippe Rahm

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