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Take a Look at the Stunning Craftsmanship Behind This Pop-Up Art Installation in DC

Take a Look at the Stunning Craftsmanship Behind This Pop-Up Art Installation in DC
Photograph by Andrew Propp.

The design masterminds who worked on Maketto, Bad Saint, and Erik Bruner-Yang’s Honeycomb Market have opened a pop-up art installation on Florida Ave. in Northeast DC. The installation, named “sortir de l’ombre” (or “out of the shadows”), was built by the design and build firm septcarrés to show off the beauty of simple, natural materials, and how light, lines, and space work together to create art.

“It’s unadulterated creativity,” said Criston Mize, the creative director at septcarrés. The installation, Mize says, “is just there to be there.”

View of the Sept Carres art installation from the street. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

Sept Carres creative director says that his design group originally designed the installation to be viewed only from the street. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

From outside, the installation seems like an impossible maze. On the inside, the space opens up and reveals its simplicity. Two-by-four cuts of pine stack on top of one another, with very few nails strategically placed to offer additional support, and fluorescent light streams from the slatted pine walls. That’s it.

The installation is called "s'ortir de l'ombre," or "out of the shadows." Photograph by Andrew Propp.

Mize says that the installation wasn’t originally meant to be seen from the inside: “We built this installation around the space. There are a lot of big, beautiful windows, so we thought it would be cool to have people’s perspective be from the outside looking in.”

The installation plays with viewers' perception of light and shadows. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

The space septcarrés took over for this installation is provided by Indrit Bregasi of SQB Development, a real-estate development company that works on a variety of projects from homes to mixed-use spaces. Without Bregasi’s generosity and support, Mize says it could’ve taken much longer for the septcarrés team to do an art installation like sortir de l’ombre.

And with continued support from real-estate companies and landlords, Mize hopes septcarrés can do future installations around DC.

“I’d love to do more—we’d love to do more,” Mize said. “We want to be a part of the design culture here. ‘Made in DC’ is important. That’s important to us.”

The Sept Carres art installation was built with only 2-by-4 cuts of pine, a few nails (for support), and fluorescent lights. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

The installation is viewable from the street 24/7, but Mize is also opening the space up to the public on January 16 and 23, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Once doors close on the 23rd, septcarrés will begin dismantling the installation.

Inside the art installation, it is very maze-like. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

Aside from designing and building out restaurants in the area, septcarrés also designs custom furniture (the bench, below, is just one example of its home collection). The group is expanding outside of its Deanwood workshop and building a showroom and shopping space in Capitol Hill. The 7th Street shop will display its projects, designs, and available products. The showroom is nearly finished, and Mize says it will open late January, after sortir de l’ombre is taken down.

Sept Carres focuses on wood work. All of the benches, carts, and storage pieces throughout the art installation were created by Sept Carres. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

UX Designer

As Washingtonian’s UX designer, Ryan works with Washingtonian’s editorial and digital teams to design digital products that address reader’s needs online. Her background in interactive journalism and web production influence design strategies that ensure users have the best possible experience–on any platform.

Ryan enjoys running, trying new restaurants in DC, and Instagramming her favorite places around DC. You can follow her on Instagram (@ryan_weisser) and on Twitter (@Ryan_Weisser).