Nils Norman: ODE TO CHARLES FOURIER: Towards a Phalanstery for Manchester

9 Jul 2011 – 20 Aug 2011

Event times

Mon-Fri 12-5:30pm, Saturdays 12-5pm, Sundays closed

Cost of entry



Manchester, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Situated only 5mins away from both Manchester Picadilly and Manchester Oxford Road train stations.

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CUBE is delighted to showcase a new site specific commission by internationally acclaimed artist Nils Norman. Norman has created a special installation that engages CUBE's main galleries in themes of utopia, play, public art and work. As a hybrid prototype for a future creative industries studio, the walk, crawl-through and climbable sculpture is inspired by the writing of nineteenth-century French utopian socialist Charles Fourier and doubles as a potential outdoor play structure for a public space in Manchester. Charles Fourier dedicated his life to devising a systematic utopian society called ‘New Harmony' in which he described its architecture, social organisation and economy. The special units in which these utopians would live are called Phalanstries — large greenhouse-like pavilions housing a vast array of work related activities based on people's desires and enjoyment. People would be organised by their passionate attractions; daily work and pleasures would be arranged each evening in the Exchange. The ultimate goal of this system would be to satisfy —rather than repress — people's passions. The installation at CUBE conceptually combines Fourier's ideas with Norman's own research into utopia, playscapes and creative industry workspaces. The structure is built loosely around Fourier's architectural vision for a group design workshop and combines this vision with the idea of a self-sustainable design office for adventure playgrounds, complete with hot-desking areas, a vermiculture paper shredder, mushroom logs, nap-zones and white-boarding brainstorming areas. There is also a small library of models — as one would find in an architect's office — of adventure playgrounds. Norman's prototype for a future workspace has the potential to be adapted to a real playground and public sculpture for outdoor use.

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