an incense room has opened in berlin, offering visitors the opportunity to take part in one of china’s oldest traditions. the room is located inside the feuerle collection, an art museum located in a former second world war telecommunications bunker. located in the city’s kreuzberg district, the private institution opened in 2016 after undergoing a major renovation by john pawson. ‘the art of incense in china is incredibly complex and relatively unknown in europe,’ says désiré feuerle, founder of the feuerle collection. ‘I wanted to share a contemporary and authentic version of this beautiful, ancient and refined ceremony.’

feuerle collection berlin
outside view of the feuerle incense room
image by def image © the feuerle collection

 

 

dating back more than 2,000 years, the practice of the art of incense is a spiritual discipline that was once reserved for scholars, high monks, emperors, and dignitaries of the court. the feuerle collection says that it is the first art museum to present the theme of chinese incense culture, and the only place in the world where the incense ceremony is ‘introduced as an artistic practice, part of a curatorial work in dialogue with, and surrounded by, ancient and contemporary art’.

feuerle collection berlin
pawson developed a special ceremonial table for the room
image by def image © the feuerle collection

 

 

 

as part of the incense room, john pawson worked alongside advisor for chinese art jerry chen and the degoo-chunzai workshop to develop a special ceremonial table. although pawson’s typically minimalist design features technological advances, its production followed traditional chinese furniture-making techniques. a series of incense tools, an incense table set and stools, as well as specially designed clothing for both the master and guests, such as kimonos and ceremony shoes, are also found within the room.

feuerle collection berlin
detail view of the incense table, incense burner and 24k gold mica plate with agarwood
image by def image © the feuerle collection

 

 

the new space is surrounded by the lake room, which contains khmer sculptures and contemporary artworks by nobuyoshi araki, adam fuss, and anish kapoor, as well as imperial chinese stone furniture on the lower ground floor. the incense room completes désiré feuerle’s ‘gesamtkunstwerk’, a vision and approach that has seen the collector develop artistic juxtapositions with the aim of creating ‘an innovative perspective for experiencing art’. visits to the incense room with participation in an incense ceremony is possible by appointment only from october 12, 2017.

feuerle collection berlin
agarwood fragments, 24k gold mica plates and wooden holders
image by def image © the feuerle collection

feuerle collection berlin
a black lacquered table from the early ming dynasty is also presented
image by def image © the feuerle collection

feuerle collection berlin
installation view of the feuerle collection with khmer deities from 10th to 13th century
image by def image © the feuerle collection

feuerle collection berlin
garden stone bench, ming dynasty, china, 16th century -17th century, limestone.
image by def image © the feuerle collection

feuerle collection berlin
adam fuss, daguerreotype, 2010 with rectangular table with four legs, early qing dynasty, 17th century, white marble. image by def image © the feuerle collection

feuerle collection berlin
nobuyoshi araki, kinbaku, 1979/2015, gelatin silver print with stone scholar table, ming dynasty, china, 16th century -17th century, limestone. image by def image © the feuerle collection

feuerle collection berlin
the art museum is located in a former second world war telecommunications bunker
image by def image © the feuerle collection

feuerle collection berlin
visits to the incense room with participation in an incense ceremony is by appointment only
image by def image © the feuerle collection

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philip stevens I designboom

oct 12, 2017