Dutch Pavilion Cannes Film Festival is a minimalist space located in Cannes, France, designed by Sabine Marcelis. In 1917, Theo van Doesburg published the first edition of De Stijl, a magazine that would launch an art movement that would become one of the most significant cultural legacies of the Netherlands in the modern era. De Stijl was characterized by simple planes and geometric forms, clear primary colors, and graphic qualities of outline and pattern in a variety of scales, from magazines to architecture. In particular, the paintings by the artist Piet Mondrian with red, blue, and yellow, bounded by black lines and white space, defined what De Stijl meant for an international audience.

100 years after the invention of De Stijl, Studio Sabine Marcelis has reinterpreted Mondrian’s iconic painting Composition with Red, Blue, and Yellow (1935) as a three-dimensional experience. In this space, black lines become thin structural elements and rectangles of color are extruded into volumetric forms. As in Mondrian’s paintings, the black lines structure the empty white space with a unique rhythm, while the red, blue, and yellow fields highlight points of focus to invest the space with meaning. Yet Sabine Marcelis’s installation also reveals many evolutions in architecture, design, and film that have taken place in the last century.

Her colored prisms appear solid when seen from the front, but break down into transparent planes with gradients of colour when viewed from different angles. Marcelis’s signature resin casting technique shows the significance of craft and material experimentation in contemporary design, while hinting at the fragmentary and layered qualities of architecture and film at various points since the late 20th century. At the same time, her incorporation of new projection technology, as well as ambient projection of color shadows through natural daylight, points to the renewed significance of the image in today’s screen-mediated culture.

Marcelis revives the avant-garde spirit of De Stijl by dissolving the barriers between the creative fields of design, architecture, film, art, and experience, and proves that deep collaboration between these disciplines is the path to visual, technological, and cultural innovation in the present day. Spatial Composition with Red, Blue, and Yellow by Studio Sabine Marcelis was commissioned by EYE International and the Netherlands Film Fund in collaboration with Het Nieuwe Instituut, the Dutch institute for architecture, design, and digital culture.

Photography by Lothaire Hucki