Exhibitions

DRIFT: Fragile Future

Bringing their exquisite multisensory and experiential designs to the Big Apple.

The Shed, New York
September 29th – December 19th 2021

By Adrian Madlener / 30th September 2021
DRIFT (left to right: Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta) with Drifters in The Shed's McCourt COURTESY: DRIFT and The Shed / PHOTOGRAPH: Dario Lasagni

DRIFT (left to right: Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta) with Drifters in The Shed’s McCourt
COURTESY: DRIFT and The Shed / PHOTOGRAPH: Dario Lasagni

FROM FLYING SWARMS of illuminated drones, to matrix-like lamps that encapsulate dandelions, Amsterdam-based DRIFT has continuously challenged the norms of design and pushed the boundaries of materiality. Often their works, large and small, challenge perception and incorporate the latest technologies to do so. The duo, Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta, has been creating groundbreaking, medium-defying projects since founding their studio in 2007. This prolific output has garnered the Design Academy Eindhoven-trained pair significant attention, whether it be from the collectible design world or revellers at events like Burning Man.

DRIFT, 'Fragile Future', 2007-21 COURTESY: DRIFT and The Shed / PHOTOGRAPH: Dario Lasagni

DRIFT, ‘Fragile Future’, 2007-21
COURTESY: DRIFT and The Shed / PHOTOGRAPH: Dario Lasagni

On the heels of a Design Miami/Basel experiential installation featuring their ‘SHYLIGHT’ installation which mimics plants moving in response to the sun, a new solo show at New York’s The Shed opened this week. Making full use of this unconventional cultural centre (featuring a massive retractable shell), the Fragile Future exhibition takes on a multi-sensorial quality. Developed in partnership with immersive art experience platform ​​Superblue, the installation incorporates iconic works like the 2018 ‘DRIFTERS’ – large concrete blocks that float in mid-air – and a corresponding soundtrack developed by British musician ANOHNI.

Drifters performance in The McCourt (on view on select days only) COURTESY: DRIFT and The Shed / PHOTOGRAPH: Dario Lasagni

Drifters performance in The McCourt (on view on select days only)
COURTESY: DRIFT and The Shed / PHOTOGRAPH: Dario Lasagni

The overall experience invites visitors to embark on a journey through various installations. The takeaway from the abstract happening is a yearning for interconnectedness, the ability to let go, give over control and come to terms with persistent change. Part of DRIFT’s main theme is environmental collapse and disassociation.

DRIFT, 'Drifters', 2018 COURTESY: DRIFT and The Shed / PHOTOGRAPH: Dario Lasagni

DRIFT, ‘Drifters’, 2018
COURTESY: DRIFT and The Shed / PHOTOGRAPH: Dario Lasagni

Through their multifaceted works, the Dutch duo seeks to re-establish our relationship with nature. Pieces like ‘DRIFTERS’ are intended to make us imagine the possibility of other worlds or scenarios within the one we already inhabit. Shimmering lights programmed throughout the exhibition evoke a level of optimism that such reconnections and reimaginations are possible.

DRIFT, ‘Fragile Future’, 2007-21 at The Shed
COURTESY: COURTESY: DRIFT and The Shed

DRIFT: Fragile Future at The Shed, New York, 545 West 30th Street, Hudson Yards, New York

Article By

Adrian Madlener
Adrian Madlener is a Brussels-born, New York-based writer covering a wide range of design-related topics.