Grace Farms fills its designer home with a shining collection of site-specific art

Grace Farms has filled its SANAA-designed building and surrounding grounds with an equally noteworthy collection of specially commissioned artwork
Grace Farms has filled its SANAA-designed building and surrounding grounds with an equally noteworthy collection of specially commissioned artwork, including two pieces by Thomas Demand (pictured).
(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

The community-geared Grace Farms (opens in new tab) in New Canaan, Connecticut, which opened earlier this month (opens in new tab), might be best recognised for its stunning ‘River’ building and untainted natural landscape, but within the SANAA (opens in new tab)-designed structure’s curving glass walls and nestled around its grounds is an equally noteworthy collection of specially commissioned artwork to be discovered.

Dedicated to bringing together communities, exploring areas of justice and spirituality and pitting itself as a center for learning, Grace Farms and its foundation have created a space armed with facilities that well surpasses other community-oriented gathering spaces. Its art collection is no different, with pieces from Thomas Demand, Olafur Eliasson, Teresita Fernandez, Susan Philipsz and Beatriz Milhazes on display.

Grace Farms’ collection has been curated by its curatorial advisor Yuko Hasegawa, chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo (opens in new tab) and a regular collaborator of SANAA’s. 'Art is both an opportunity to share an experience with others, and an pportunity for self-reflection,' she states. 'One of the key elements discussed during the conceptual process of this project was how best to bring together SANAA’s architectural language with the works on view.'

The results couldn’t be more in tune with the impression that Grace Farms leaves behind. In the library, two large photographic pieces by Thomas Demand, ‘Farm 56’ and ‘Farm 88’, depict the design evolution of the River building through SANAA’s architectural models – very much in the same vein of what Demand presented at his recent 'Latent Forms' exhibition (opens in new tab) in London. 'My contribution tries to show the richness of the creative process and the eminent role modeling played in the design of the building in which the work is installed,' the artist says.

In the dining hall, known as the Commons, Teresita Fernandez has created ‘Double Glass River’, a fluid configuration of small glass cubes installed on a curved wall that reflect different views of both the viewer and the surrounding landscape as its passed. Olafur Eliasson’s ‘Mat for Multidimensional prayers’ – thick woven mats made from Icelandic sheep’s wool - cuts a poignant figure on the stage in the building’s Sanctuary, while a sound installation by Glaswegian artist Susan Philipsz that’s inspired by musical annotation originating from Conneticut fills the air around a small pond in the woods.

With new site specific pieces from Eliasson and the Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes to be unveiled in 2016, there will be even more reasons to keep coming back for a visit.

SANAA’s architectural models.

Farm 58 by Thomas Demand depicts the design evolution of the River building by focusing on SANAA’s architectural models. 

(Image credit: Jonah Rosenberg)

Olafur Eliasson’s ‘Mat for Multidimensional prayers’

Olafur Eliasson’s ‘Mat for Multidimensional prayers’ – thick woven mats made from Icelandic sheep’s wool - cuts a poignant figure on the stage in the building’s Sanctuary. 

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

Teresita Fernandez has created ‘Double Glass River’, a fluid configuration of small glass cubes installed on a curved wall

Teresita Fernandez has created ‘Double Glass River’, a fluid configuration of small glass cubes installed on a curved wall that reflects different views of both the viewer and the surrounding landscape as its passed.

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

’Canele (Cinnamon)’ by Beatriz Milhazes

Canele (Cinnamon)’ by Beatriz Milhazes welcomes visitors in the West Barn. Her site-specific piece for Gace Farms will be unveiled in 2016.

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

Kazuyo Sejima and a member of the SANAA team admire Thomas Demand’s Farm 56.

Kazuyo Sejima and a member of the SANAA team admire Thomas Demand’s Farm 56.

(Image credit: Dean Kaufman)

Susan Philipsz, Yuko Hasegawa, Thomas Demand, Teresita Fernández, Grace Farms president Sharon Prince and Beatriz Milhazes.

Pictured (left to right): Susan Philipsz, Yuko Hasegawa, Thomas Demand, Teresita Fernández, Grace Farms president Sharon Prince and Beatriz Milhazes.

(Image credit: Michael George)

ADDRESS

Grace Farms (opens in new tab)
365 Lukes Wood Road
New Canaan, Connecticut

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Pei-Ru Keh is the US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru has held various titles at Wallpaper* since she joined in 2007. She currently reports on design, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru has taken a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars and actively seeks out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.