douglas mandry and BALLY IN CONVERSATION WITH DESIGNBOOM

Swiss artist and photographer Douglas Mandry and Nicolas Girotto, CEO of luxury fashion house, BALLY, discuss  their collaboration and Douglas’ latest work of melting ice photograms with designboom’s Editor-in-Chief, Birgit Lohmann. Installed at the DAAily bar during Milan Design Week 2022, the 30-meter-long curtain artwork immersed visitors in colorful, natural patterns obtained by a special photographic intervention directly on the Swiss mountains.

Besides the aesthetically pleasing outcome of the photograms, his works question our relationship to memory, technology and nature while addressing the effects of climate change. ‘My work is driven by the global change we’re facing, addressing issues of climate change and environmental consciousness through visible elements,’ explains Mandry during his Live Talk. ‘As a Swiss-born artist, the melting of Swiss glaciers is of course a very visible and tangible theme that I wanted to research. The idea in the pictures you see is basically to explore the phenomenon of melting ice.’

‘There are two layers in Douglas’s work,’ Nicolas Girotto notes while talking about Mandry’s practice. ‘Obviously these are beautiful images you see here, but then there is always a second message. There is this constant about raising awareness on climate change, and we all have to do something about that. This is why, as a brand, we were extremely proud to partner, support and put his work and message into the spotlight.’

DAAily bar talk with douglas mandry and BALLY on the art of melting ice photograms
artist Douglas Mandry at the DAAily bar | image © designboom

video © designboom in collaboration with FELICES Agency and José Salto, artwork courtesy of Douglas Mandry

ART CURTAIN AT THE DAAILY BAR DURING MILAN DESIGN WEEK 2022

Created in collaboration with BALLY and beautifully executed by Christian Fischbacher, Douglas Mandry’s memorable art curtain illuminated the DAAily bar’s lounge, bar and stage areas throughout the Milan Design Week. In his conversation with Nicolas Girotto, the Zürich-based artist delved into the process behind his melting ice photograms, which he produces in-situ on the Swiss mountains. The experimental process is derived from an old way of working with photography without using a camera (Note of the editor: A pinhole photography is a lensless photography. A tiny hole replaces the lens. Light passes through the hole; an image is formed on photographic paper.). The process involves collecting ice blocks from the same glacier, which are then placed in a self-built darkroom containing photo sensitive color paper. Exposed directly onto the paper through specific aperture shutters pierced in the wooden box, the melting ice leaves a trace on the paper, creating mesmerizing natural patterns.

As Mandry explains, ‘The whole challenge of the project is that the photosensitive paper has to stay in the dark the whole time. I use a mobile darkroom, which is actually a van that I’ve covered in order to have the trunk completely dark. I bring the ice in, and the ice comes out but the paper stays in. Then, on the way from the mountains back to Zürich everything has to be completely dark until it gets in the machine to be developed. There, I can see what I have done.’ Watch the conversation in full on the video above.

DAAily bar talk with douglas mandry and BALLY on the art of melting ice photograms
from left to right: designboom Editor-in-Chief Birgit Lohmann, BALLY CEO Nicolas Girotto, artist Douglas Mandry | image © José Salto FELICES Agency

DAAily bar talk with douglas mandry and BALLY on the art of melting ice photograms
image © José Salto FELICES Agency

DAAily bar talk with douglas mandry and BALLY on the art of melting ice photograms
art curtain illuminates the DAAily bar | image © designboom

DAAily bar talk with douglas mandry and BALLY on the art of melting ice photograms
the blow-up effect best shows its colorful, natural patterns | image © designboom

DAAily bar talk with douglas mandry and BALLY on the art of melting ice photograms
image © designboom

DAAily bar talk with douglas mandry and BALLY on the art of melting ice photograms
Douglas Mandry, Monuments, 2021 | melting ice photograms, various formats, unique | image © Douglas Mandry