Fresh off of another fabulous installment of Milan’s Salone del Mobile, one of the sights that stayed with us was “New Spring,” a multi-sensory experience by the intrepid designers of Studio Swine with the help of Swedish clothing brand COS. The London-based duo took over the out-of-commission Cinema Arti in a truly cinematic way, installing an almost 20-foot-tall recycled aluminum tree that blew mist-filled bubbles from its baroque-style branches.
As is typical to their practice, the form sprang from in-depth research into the location. “We were quite influenced by the organic shapes of Milanese Murano chandeliers,” according to Swine co-founder Asuza Murakami. (It also happens that these are handblown, like bubbles.) “In terms of what we wanted it to do, we wanted something like the Sakura [cherry blossom] festival in Japan—something contemplative, something seasonal, and something that brought people together.”
Throughout week, visitors passed through a set of black curtains and entered the darkened theater to don a pair of gloves. Part of the magic of these bubbles is that they could come into contact with certain textured fabrics without popping—at least for a few moments. And when they did, they released a burst of sweet, custom-designed scents: bergamot and jasmine, oak moss and cedar, and lime and bitter orange. “Flowers, wood, and fruit,” says Swine’s Alexander Groves, “the three basic elements of a tree.