From November 29, 2023 to April 28, 2024, Canadian architect and artist Philip Beesley is exhibiting new work alongside his collaborator Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. The exhibition Iris van Herpen: Sculpting the Senses is an immersive and sensory exploration into the designer’s universe, fusing fashion, contemporary art, design and science to invite audiences to rethink the relationship between our body and the space around us. Beesley’s long standing collaboration with Iris van Herpen has led to the creation of innovative and experimental textiles and fabrics that have been shown across global runways and exhibitions. The opening of Sculpting the Senses in late November was attended by Beesley’s family and studio team from Toronto, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, and Brigitte Macron from France.
Reflecting on the studio’s deep roots in Toronto’s West End and the new seeds it has recently planted in Paris, we are sharing some images that give a behind-the-scenes look into the process of assembling, installing, and exhibiting exciting, cutting-edge works. These works cover a wide range of types and scales, from dresses, bespoke mannequins, experimental fabric and textile samples, and glass sculptures.
All of the prototyping, testing, fabrication, and packing for Philip Beesley’s contribution to Sculpting the Senses took place in his West Toronto studio. Beesley, an Ontario native, has kept his studio operations near Lansdowne and Bloor for over a decade, first at 213 Sterling Road (sharing the building with Azure’s head offices) and now at 11 Dublin Street—just across the tracks. The studio has remained full of surging activity and envelope-pushing ideas even as the neighbourhood around it has changed and developed. There are numerous technical interventions underway in the studio now, including a projection technology called Living Shadows, which debuted this year and has been fused with dresses within Sculpting the Senses in three configurations: Physarum, Snake, and Voltage.
From his Toronto studio to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, these image galleries offer an inside look at Philip Beesley’s collaborations with Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen.