No Fear of Glass by the Sabine Marcelis

Meet Sabine Marcelis and the design series No Fear of Glass. An alternative and experimental series of 5 pieces that dance apart with the architecture of  Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona Spain.

The 36 years olds designer was born and raised in New Zealand and are a designer living and working in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Marcelis studied industrial design for two years at Victoria University in Wellington and continued her studies at the Design Academy Eindhoven, where she graduated in 2011.  Since graduating, she has been working on her own  Studio. Working within the fields of product, installation, and spatial design with a strong focus on materiality.



Her work is characterized by pure forms and natural elements such as the reflections of light and water, which she believes highlight material properties. In the proximity to nature, Sabine developed an exquisite sensitivity to the light of the sky. Inspired by dramatic landscapes, the ocean, the snow, and the mountains, the artist made her work a new glaze of natural elements.

The audacity, self-control, and steadiness present in this collection is beyond what the eye can see. All the challenges Sabine Marcelis treated this historical jewel with white gloves, establishing a dialogue by listening to the building itself”. – Maria Cristina Didero, independent curator

No Fear of Glass by the designer Sabine Marcelis in the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion. No Fear of Glass seeks the contrast between the request made to Mies van der Rohe to “not use too much glass” in the German Pavilion of 1929, with the creative proposal of Sabine Marcelis herself, where glass is the key element, pushing the limits of the material to its end.

Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich used the materials to test their design ideas, and Marcelis uses the experimentation of materials and production to create new and surprising applications that dialogue with the materiality and shapes of the Pavilion.

The exhibited pieces seem to be grown and extruded from the architecture itself; two large chaise longues which are pulled up from the ground by extending the travertine floor to form a base are sliced by a singular sheet of curved glass which is seemingly pulled from the walls. The two materials meet to become sculptural yet functional furniture pieces.

Eight chrome columns provide the structural support for the roof of the pavilion. Marcelis introduces a ninth mirrored-glass column that functions as a light and is placed in line with the structural columns, blending in seamlessly with the architecture, both in form and materiality.

Not only the solid architectural materials are extruded to become new objects however, also the natural elements are part of the pavilion’s design. In the water pond outside, a curved glass fountain seems to be bending the water upwards from the ground and letting it spill over and back down.

With nothing but elegance and intelligence, the design series of new pieces seem to emerge from the architecture itself: two glass chaise longues in shades of pink and purple, a fountain, and two pillar lights.

“No Fear of Glass” is not just a solo show, it is a hymn to the infinite liberating possibilities that modernism still has to offer and that Sabine Marcelis has unlocked vividly in front of our own eyes.” – Ippolito Pestellini, partner OMA/AMO


Design Team:
Sabine Marcelis


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