Q&A: Daniel Libeskind on His New Sculptural Work

Architect uses sculpture to investigate the dynamism of where architecture is moving.

With the recent launch of Cosentino’s new ultra-compact architectural surface, Dekton, the company made an additional announcement. Architect Daniel Libeskind is working with Dekton to create Beyond The Wall, a permanent sculpture at the Cosentino global headquarters in Almeria, Spain. Beyond The Wall shows Libeskind’s unique approach to architecture as a language capable of narrating the story of the human soul; a hybrid and wide-ranging force, at once a narrative, a method, an art form, and a way of thinking about the world. The project will be unveiled by Libeskind in late November 2013. Libeskind took some time to talk to me about the sculpture, Dekton, and where he sees architecture being headed.

Shannon Sharpe: When did you get into discussions with Cosentino about creating a sculpture from Dekton?

Daniel Libeskind: I first started with my collaboration with Cosentino, which is a very interesting company, in Milan when I did a project together with them making a large- scale object using their technology. Out of that came a commission to create something fantastic—a permanent sculpture about 30 feet high in height, using Dekton as a material. There was an earlier iteration at Milan Design Week this year. Then the project was so interesting to both of us that we continued to work on a permanent sculpture together. We enjoyed working with each other. Cosentino is a very inventive company. Not just because of its products, but also because it invests a lot in research and new materials. Dekton is about having the ability to use large surfaces that have this quality that I wanted in the construction of the sculpture.

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SS: Where will it be?

DL: It’s going to be in Almeria, Spain, at their headquarters. It’s a beautiful landscape and it will be seen from many distances and directions. The sculpture is based upon the architecture idea of a spiral that is not centered on one axis but at many vertical and oblique axes, which develops into a spatial construct where each facet is uniquely positioned in space and in light. We’re using this new material, which has glass, porcelain, and quartz within it to create a sense of luminosity.

SS: What was your inspiration for this sculpture?

DL: Many years ago when I worked on the Victoria and Albert Museum I was very interested in the materials that today Cosentino is actually presenting. The decentered spiral, as I call it, has been my preoccupation for many years. It’s not something that I invented. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a number of years. I was interested in new geometries, which really relate to contemporary ways of thinking and not the older notions of symmetries and what the spiral was.

Courtesy Daniel Libeskind

SS: How long did it take to design the sculpture?

DL: It didn’t just leave my head in a moment. It’s been brewing for a number of years. Dekton gave me a chance to move from paper to an actual set of materials.

SS: Would you be able to use any other materials to produce this?

DL: I don’t want to sound like an advertisement, but I think that Cosentino has produced something very different. Originally, the material I wanted was exactly like what Dekton is, but it was really the old tiles. It had a segmented look. I wanted something that could move in a spiral in large dimensions in terms of the surface material. And that is indeed what Dekton is.

SS: How do you see this sculpture being interpreted?

DL: I think it will really be a microcosm of materials and sculpture and architecture, and of course a public element. It’s significant about what it says about light, the earth, the sky, and the possibilities of movement. It’s a microcosm of being able to think of the 21st-century city. It’s really the spatial, tectonic, and material form of the 21st-century architecture. It’s not just a sculpture. It’s really an investigation of the dynamism of where I think architecture is moving.

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