After a decade-long stint with Cartier, exploring sculpture through jewelry, Lara Bohinc, of Bohinc Studio, embarked upon creating functional pieces for living. She recently took over the Miami Design District with her winning concept Utopia – an immersive installation of functional sculptures that realize a vision of sustainable urban living, creating public spaces where people and nature harmoniously coexist.
The other-worldly installations are made from cork and were unveiled in November 2023 throughout the Design District, ahead of Miami Art Week. Utopia is Bohinc Studio’s first public commission in the US and spans four installations featuring irregular, bulbous forms reminiscent of growing cellular organisms and lifeforms.
Mushrooming becomes a word?
Friendly and dynamic, the sculptures are suggestive of living objects, mushrooming across the district with their kind yet mysterious presence. The colorful and tactile sculptures include outdoor seaters, tables, and imposing 3 metre tall light sculptures, placed within proximity to create intimate and comforting resting places.
Utopia features different furniture objects, light fixtures, and birdhouses all reminiscent of cell organisms, individually named: Spirit,Beginning, Utopia, Synchronicity, Friends, and Sanctuary.
A constellation of nine hundred eggshaped birdhouses (image 4) will be interspersed among the tree branches, providing colorful refuge and shade for local wildlife. Echoing the function of the birdhouses, a giant, centrepiece 2 metre tall egg-form (image 3) will provide a playful hideout for small children. At night, the solar-powered sculptures will come to life and create an atmospheric luminous glow.
A symphony of pastels
Painted by hand in vibrant pastel hues of pistachio, aqua, lavender, cherry blossom and eggshell blue, Bohinc’s designs pay homage to Miami’s architectural color palette and bring elements of meaningful playfulness, functionality and comfort to the outdoor areas that the installations inhabit.
Sustainable material revamped
With a focus on environmental issues, Bohinc’s pieces are made from cork – a natural, waterproof and environmentally friendly material, native to Portugal, constructed with the assistance of a 5D robotic milling machine and completed and spray-painted by hand. These sculptures invite passersby to interact with their functional forms and clustered together, conceptualize a utopian future that questions how we might better engage with the natural world.
Intermingling with the District’s walkways and enlivening the public spaces as a place to convene, the organic objects become a living thread, engaging with the native trees and architecture to create a place of reflection for visitors.
Spirit Standing Light Sculpture in powder blue. Utopia Armchair in lavender, both made with spray-painted cork.
Beginning Light Sculpture in powder blue, 155 cm dia. x 180 cm high Synchronicity Half-Round Sofa in cherry blossom, 495 cm wide x 208 cm deep x 84 cm high
Sanctuary is a collection of 900 birdhouses in cocoon-like or egg-shaped forms. Sprinkled throughout the neighborhood’s trees, these birdhouses are painted in pastel shades similar to those of the furniture pieces staged in pastel colors, come in three sizes and are designed to house the area’s avian life becoming a living thread.