Sunday, 26 January 2020

6 unusual buildings and installations to check off your travel list

The Swiss Alps reflected on Mirage Gstaad by Doug Aitken. Photo credit: Miguel Angel Lopez Rojas/


Gstaad, Switzerland
After stints in Palm Springs and Detroit in the United States, American artist Doug Aitken’s mind-bending installation is now in the Swiss Alps. Mirrored from top to bottom, inside and out, this ranch-style house reflects its surroundings from every angle to kaleidoscopic effect. While the structure’s single-storey design resembles local Alpine architecture, Aitken was actually inspired by the works of Frank Lloyd Wright and the ranch homes of the American West. Book your flights soon – Mirage Gstaad is only on view until January 2021.

Unusual buildings
Sculpture by artist Antony Gormley at Lake Ballard. Photo credit: Sally Robertson/


Lake Ballard, Australia
In the wilds of the Western Australian outback sits a stunning, brilliantly white dry salt lake. Despite its remote location (around 11 hours’ drive from Perth), Lake Ballard has been home to Australia’s largest outdoor gallery since 2003, boasting a collection of 51 individual sculptures that stand tall across its salt-crusted surface. Created by the Turner Prize-winning artist Antony Gormley, the metal sculptures were modelled after body scans taken from locals from the nearby township of Menzies. Foot tracks connect one sculpture to the next, encouraging visitors to explore the 10km expanse at their leisure. 

Unusual buildings
Yayoi Kusama’s pumpkin in Naoshima, Japan. Photo credit: joan__ne/


Naoshima Island, Japan
Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is famously fond of pumpkins – and her most celebrated rendering can be found on sleepy Naoshima Island. In 1994, Kusama installed the freestanding Yellow Pumpkin as part of the island’s efforts to launch itself as a contemporary art destination. Sometimes referred to as the “Princess of Polka Dots”, Kusama covered the gigantic sculpture with vivid black spots and placed it in the most incongruous location she could find. Twenty-five years later, it remains perched on the edge of a fishing pier gazing out to sea – a signal of the island’s artistic credentials. Naoshima is also now home to the Chichu Art Museum.

Unusual buildings
Messner Mountain Museum at the top of Monte Rite. Photo credit: Firebird007/


Dolomites, Italy
Perched at the summit of Monte Rite, which rises to nearly 2,200m, this cultural hub is topped by a striking glass structure with views over the snowcapped peaks. Here you’ll find a former fort transformed into a comprehensive museum that chronicles the conquest of the Dolomites. The space is part of the Messner Mountain Museum project, which sees five other museums scattered across five different summits (including one designed by Zaha Hadid, also in the Dolomites).

Unusual buildings
Sunrise at Kelimutu Crater Lake in Indonesia. Photo credit: Reuben Teo/


Moni, Indonesia
Located near the tiny village of Moni on the Indonesian island of Flores, conceptual artist Not Vital’s latest work is a 13m L-shaped building that sits atop a hill surrounded by greenery. At the installation’s rear, jet-black stairs climb the white exterior to a tiny balcony where you can soak in the views across the lush rice paddies towards nearby Kelimutu volcano, whose three brilliantly coloured volcanic lakes inspired the installation’s name. “It’s difficult to make a dreamscape for adults,” Vital mused in an interview with The New York Times some years ago – but, here, he’s achieved it.

Unusual buildings
Prada Marfa is a permanently installed sculpture by artists Elmgreen and Dragset. Photo credit: Sue Stokes/shutterstock


Texas, United States
Sat on a lone stretch of highway in the arid Texan desert, this faux Prada boutique looks eerily out of place. And that’s the point: artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset created their whitewashed adobe-brick sculpture – complete with handbags and shoes from the fashion house on display – as a piece of social commentary on the consumerism that’s transforming cities across the globe. While the duo intended the sculpture to eventually decay into obscurity, they hadn’t planned on the stir it would cause. Prada Marfa’s iconic status was officially cemented when Beyoncé snapped a shot in front of it for her Instagram.
To book a flight, visit
SEE ALSO: MoMA reopens: The thrilling evolution of New York’s art scene
This article was originally published in the January 2020 issue of SilverKris magazine
The post 6 unusual buildings and installations to check off your travel list appeared first on SilverKris.

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