JAEMEE STUDIO is a young design studio based in Jersey City, USA. With focus on public art, architecture, and landscape architecture, our projects explore ideas of creating infrastructure for artistic intervention derived from its social and cultural context. Our work often plays with inspiration from ordinary and familiar everyday objects to create playful, cultural, and artful landscape by exercising the use of creative arrangement, juxtaposition, shift in scale, color, and use of extraordinary materials. By using recognizable items as a means of artful expression, our works intend to offer visitors accessible ways to engage with contemporary art and landscape. Blurring the boundary of pop art and landscape architecture, we pursue memorable site specific art that is visual, graphical, interactive and experimental.
Led by Jaeyual Lee, architect and Haemee Han landscape designer, we believe our imaginative approach to design results in multidisciplinary exchange of ideas and values. From Weathermen (2019), public art/pavilion installation in Winnipeg, Canada, to 20 Doorways (2019), international garden festival installation in Chaumont-sur-loire, France, Jaemee studio’s works reflect their desire to establish delightful platform by utilizing creative responsive and collaborative efforts across multi-disciplinary work.
“Weatherman” is a series of interactive art sculptures mimicking familiar man-made massing around the scenery along the Red River Mutual Trail – Snowman. The scale of weathermen varies from 5 feet tall non-occupiable objects to 10 feet tall pavilions with hollow structure inside, which can be occupied by people and function as warming huts. Composed of sculpted and stacked insulation foams inside and plaster coating outside, weathermen are painted in various colors in warm tone palette. Introduction of warming palette of color in barren, frigid environment enlivens the site with visual and physical presence of warming huts. “Weathermen” are all positioned on same ground elevation at the beginning of the installation. As snow piles up around the installation during winter storms, visitors can speculate amount of precipitation by using weathermen as a measuring tool with familiar human scale. Strategically placed mundane objects recreated in unexpected scale and color can bring out curiosity and resurface one’s childhood winter memories. “Weathermen” aims to become a colorful warming hut invoking visitors’ past memories and creating new ones simultaneously.
Weathermen was winning entry of Warming Huts Competition 2019 | Client : The Forks | all photo credits to Jaemee Studio
Each year, international garden festival at Chaumont-sur-loire invites designers around the world to build garden under different themes. Jaemee studio’s 20 doorways was selected to be built part of 2019 edition, “Jardins de paradis”. Paradise often refers to heaven, place of exceptional happiness and delight. They are places without one’s direct encounter, but rather results of one’s fantasy and imagination. As a conception of imaginary minds, it could be thousands of different places according to individuals. It could be blue ocean, endless prairie filed, field of fully bloomed flowers, garden of Eden, or even mysterious spaces like galaxy. Anyplace one can imagine. We interpreted paradise as collection of unreal and fantastic landscapes one can possibly imagine. We used “Door” as a method (or tool) to introduce people to sneak a glance at multiple paradises at once .
“Doorways” is a garden composed of doors that are laid on the ground in a grid. Exposure to what is behind individual doors vary as some of them are closed while others are fully or partially opened. Visitors encounter a collection of adjacently placed landscape of paradise. Mixture of living plants and artificial materials create unexpected scenery of paradise by juxtaposition of familiar and common materials in unconventional way. Similar to how Rene Magritte made ‘everyday objects shriek aloud’ in his paintings, “20 Doorways” aims to create unexpected space that are composed of different yet familiar landscapes in coexistence. Planting selections are simple yet colourful which can be bloom throughout whole garden festival season. From fern such as Osmunda regalis, and perennial grass like Prairie Dropseed to small flowering tree, Cercis canadensis enliven each paradise with various color in elevation. Artificial materials such as mirror-like surface reflecting the sky and photo printed galaxy add surrealistic atmosphere.
Door often symbolizes passage or transition between spaces. Standing in front of doors, one becomes curious about encounter with new space. The intention of “20 doors” garden is not to mimic and define what paradise is, but to arise curiosity and question ourselves what it could be. Is it a place filled with endless garish plantings, or are those more like up in the air as you are floating with clouds? As you walk into the garden, gallery of doors with paradise awaits your selection. Which door would you open?
All photo credits to Jaemee Studio
A playground is defined as a place where a particular group of people choose to enjoy themselves. It often includes playful rides and equipment such as slide, seesaw, and swing, stimulating one’s physical excitement through imminent change of heights and velocity. Unlike prevalent forms of playgrounds, the installation proposal “Ted” is not a playground with immediate physical amusement, but a comfortable and soothing ground that brings delight through one’s memory of comfort playing with toys. Covered with sod lawn, “Ted” is topographic land art mimicking form of a teddy bear in sublime scale. Resembling silhouette and form of a familiar toy, the garden incites one’s nostalgic childhood memory of playing with toys, who they might have often played with, or some times sat quietly and listened while they confided their dreams and sorrows. Within the garden composed of eight landform mounds with varied sizes, visitors can climb up, sit, and lay down comfortably on grassy hills as if they are hugged by a teddy bear. The juxtaposition of unexpectedly familiar form in immense scale with calm surrounding trees and landscape of the site brings curiousness and surprise. One does not need to be a teddy bear lover, or learn how to play with it to embrace “Ted.” The garden welcomes visitors of all ages and persuades everyone to sit on one’s own playful childhood memories.
Inspired by Teddy Bear Philosophy by Susan E. Schwartz | All photo credits to Jaemee studio
“I simply like the monumentality of the subjects – the opportunity for metaphor and the varied light that comes with high altitudes.” – quote by Canadian painter. Robert Genn.
Monumentality of a forest is often associated with scale of its members’ visible components. People imagine forest of trees with giant trunk and wide canopy make forest as monumental space. However, foundation of those elements is often neglected due to its subterranean position. Roots, which often spread as big as canopy crown width, are hidden underground. “Root x Play” discovers and reinterpret the green forest’s source of monumentality. By mimicking and abstracting roots of existing tree in the Green Forest and elevating them onto ground level, we intend to create art piece that interacts with visitors. Configuration of the project is laid out as a series of bars in radial direction around the tree trunk. The radial layout reflects the idea of typical exposed tree root system. Each bar of reinterpreted root veins vary in height. Bars (or Veins) perform not only as bench under trees, but also playful steps children can easily climb up and play. Larger bar can also act as platform where visitors can lounge and relax. Forests are full of colors that are changing constantly. Surrounding atmosphere, time, sunlight, wind, snow, and rain bring full spectrum of color into the forest. We applied the idea of spectrum of color in forest to “Root x Play” by creating each of them in different colors. Varied in colors and height, Root x Play invites visitors to have wide ranging colorful experience in the Green Forest. “Root x Play” becomes a symbolic landscape scale object, yet possesses playful elements inducing human scale interaction with the site and extending one’s visit. It is a piece highlighting monumentality of unseen foundation of existing trees, but also a playful and educational art installation. We hope this will bring colorful and artistic experience to The Green Forest.
Jaemee Studio’s Root x Play was selected as finalist for La Foret Monumentale Public Art RFP in Rouen, France, competition | Client: Métropole Rouen Normandie | All photo credits to Jaemee Studio
Open Whisper is an interactive installation that uses three types of “movements”: nature’s movement (wind), active movement (play) and movement of thoughts (whispers) using a plastic tube, that can be easily seen in the everyday life. It is a simple structure that suspends two colored pipes to the horizontal wires connecting the interior space of the museum. These hanging pipes become a playful element that can be pushed and pulled like a pendulum on the ground. If there is no such active movement by visitors, it could move slowly by natural force. Situated in breezy atmosphere, the wind creates unexpected movement. Open Whisper focuses on the movement of thoughts. Each pipe is a medium that connects people to each other. Like in our childhood, making a telephone out of paper cup to whisper stories with friends, visitors exchange their thoughts through the plastic tube. When you talk on one side, your voice will be delivered to the other side. What makes their whisper “open” is that people know who they are whispering with. We intend to share a playful contradiction that your most private talk could be “seen” in public.
Open Whisper was installation proposal for Soda Museum in South Korea | All photos credit to Jaemee Studio