White Road: Waiting for the Rain Typographic Installation

Waiting for the Rain

Studio Rašić's land art installation at a Croatian sculpture park waits to receive the gifts of nature.

Dubrova Sculpture Park in Labin, Croatia, has been the site of the Mediterranean Sculpture Symposium since 1970. The symposium was established in part to celebrate the beauty of the white Istrian limestone indigenous to the region. Today, the park is home to more than 70 monumental outdoor sculptures, as well as a unique land art project called White Road, conceived by symposium founder Josip Diminić.

White Road (Bijela cesta) is a 325-meter-long, 4.5-meter-wide (1,066-ft.-long by 14-ft.-wide) stone path divided into 15 sections created by Croatian and international artists. It creates a one-of-a-kind cultural space ideal for taking a walk, enjoying nature, and experiencing the sculptures in the park.

“As a child, I used to dream about arranging the white road through my native village Sveti Lovreč Labinski (Diminići), planting roses alongside,” says Diminić. “So, when a need arose for an organized movement among the scattered sculptures in the park, I proposed the concept of the White Road.”

Ante Rašić and his colleagues at the Zagreb-based multidisciplinary design firm Studio Rašić created the 13th installation of the road, entitled Waiting for the Rain. For his 25-meter-long section, Rašić  chose to find a way for his material––a highly polished limestone quarried in Kanfanar, Croatia––to interact with nature, weather, and time. 

Waiting for the Rain consists of 1,245 square tiles of the limestone (5cm deep), 806 of which have circular cavities cut from their centers. The circles form small bowls, vessels for collecting the gifts that nature bestows over time. As the seasons unfold, they collect water, leaves, and earth, as well as the more temporal vestiges of the passing days: the reflected images and light and shadows that change depending on the sun’s position throughout the day.
"Water is a very important part of the statement," says Rašić. "The empty bowls symbolize hope and the wealth that water brings to earth and humans. Water is also a mirror in which you can look and question yourself; it visually reflects the environment, energy, and vibrations of its surroundings. I often use mirrors in my art works. In this case, the mirror was actually replaced with its natural counterpart element: water."

"The natural aging of the stone and the breath and spirit of the earth will also grant the project with more charm over time," he continues. "Change and aging are natural processes and I like to see change in my artworks. The road will look different in every season."

On a macro scale, the installation has a second, typographic layer. The 806 bowls cut from the limestone are positioned on the grid to spell out the words "Bijela cesta" (White Road). They provide a subtle signature that can only be seen from above.

Rašić, who is a painter and sculptor as well as a designer and professor at the Academy of Fine Art in Zagreb, says he saw the White Road competition as a means to combine the two sides of his creative personality. "My life as a designer and my life as an artist are very attached to each other," he explains. "Art and design are constantly mixed in Studio Rašić. That is probably why this project is so poetic and at the same time very exact. You can see that at first sight it looks very mathematically calculated."

Diminić says  Waiting for the Rain distinguishes itself from other sections of the White Road because of its inscription that can be seen from above and its perpetual interaction with nature. "It creates each day a new picture and a visual element never seen before."

Rather than simply applying his painting style one-dimensionally to the road, as he has seen other artists do, Rašić chose to create a tactile experience that could not be recreated anywhere else. "I wanted to emphasize interactivity, both with nature and with people passing by," he explains. And while its main visual element––typography––is not immediately evident to park visitors, one day it may become a more formalized identity element for the White Road. Rašić hopes to create a viewing gallery for it in the future. For now, it is subtle signature and homage to the park, the beauty of nature, and the passage of time.

--By Pat Matson Knapp, segdDESIGN No. 33, 2011

Jury comments
“The strength of this entry is its elegance and simplicity. It makes a statement without over-thinking or trying too hard. It will only become more engaging and provocative over time as nature fills in the holes left by the designers.”

“A non-sculpture that is everything sculpture should be: a reflection of who we are, our impact on the world, and our constantly evolving interaction with nature—at a macro and micro scale simultaneously.”

WHITE ROAD: WAITING FOR THE RAIN

Client:  Mediterranean Sculpture Symposium

Location:  Dubrova Sculpture Park, Labin, Croatia

Design:  Studio Rašić

Design Team:  Ante Rašić (author, creative director); Vedrana Vrabec, Marko Rašić (design collaborators)

Fabrication:  Graditeljstvo Jakovljević (limestone production)

Consultants:  Mediterranean Sculpture Symposium Expert Council (Josip Diminić, Gorka Ostojić Cvajner, Slavko Baterić)

Photos:  Anica Rašić

Jury comments
“The strength of this entry is its elegance and simplicity. It makes a statement without over-thinking or trying too hard. It will only become more engaging and provocative over time as nature fills in the holes left by the designers.”

“A non-sculpture that is everything sculpture should be: a reflection of who we are, our impact on the world, and our constantly evolving interaction with nature—at a macro and micro scale simultaneously.”

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