Phillip K Smith III + COS @ Salone Milan 2018

Phillip K Smith III + COS @ Salone Milan 2018

London-based fashion brand COS unveiled Open Sky, a large-scale sculptural installation by artist Phillip K. Smith III, it was created site-specific to Milan’s Palazzo Isimbardi and is on view during Salone del Mobile 2018. The location of the impressive installation is a historical 16th – century palazzo’s courtyard and gardens.



At COS, we have been inspired by the way Phillip K. Smith III’s works interact with their natural surroundings allowing us to experience spaces in unique new ways and are thrilled to share Open Sky with the public” ……………. Karin Gustafsson, Creative Director of COS


Artist Phillip K Smith III and Karin Gustaffsson on site


Open Sky transforms the overhead square of sky of Palazzo Isimbardi’s courtyard into a grounded, physical ring of reflected sky. Upon entry into the courtyard, one is faced with the tactile, yet abstract presence of the immense, circular form.


” I wanted to pull the sky to the ground – to make it physically present. The square of sky above the courtyard transforms into a semi-circular form, that sits on the courtyard floor directly in front of the viewer.

The idea was to actively and seamlessly merge the beauty of the surrounding architecture and the sky over Milan, creating an ever-changing experience.”…………………… Phillip K. Smith III


Moving through the colonnade to the far side of the courtyard, the Palazzo’s 16th century architecture is seen angularly reconfigured across the faceted, reflective surface. Approaching the centre of the installation, the angle of reflection shifts and the architecture dynamically pulls away like a curtain, opening up the sky.

At the centre, one is fully encircled by the sublime, slowly paced physicality of the sky’s changing colour gradient and the shifting clouds. It is an installation that is always in a constant state of flux as the colours of the environment shift, as the light of the day changes, and as the viewer moves through the space, resulting in an entirely unique experience for every individual that can never be replicated.

Moving through the courtyard and into the Palazzo’s adjoining English garden, visitors will find five free-standing sculptures with both horizontally and vertically folded reflective skins that use the greenery and trees of the garden, the surrounding architecture and the sky overhead as visible material.

These variable samplings of the garden space are reconfigured or re-collaged across the sculpture surfaces, compressing space while evidencing the precise colours and evolving atmosphere of the day.

Inspired by the garden works, Smith has created a series of smaller scale window displays at select COS stores that shift the world of reflection to the streetscape.

Variably sized, angled, and composed, while being globally located and on view for the duration of Salone del Mobile, the experience of these works at each store location is entirely unique to the city in which they are placed.


The installation marks COS’s seventh consecutive installation during Salone del Mobile and its first collaboration with Phillip K. Smith III.




Palm Springs-based artist Phillip K. Smith III is known for his immersive, light-based installations that employ light, space, colour, the environment and change in order to inspire viewers to reconsider their surroundings.

Smith’s works is intensely physical, seemingly ephemeral and highly meditative creating unique spatiotemporal experiences via shifting light, the changing colours of the environment and the movement of the viewer.

Through the atmosphere and pacing of his installations, Smith challenges viewers to slow down and align themselves with the work in order to see and hear the beauty that is in front of them.

Phillip K. Smith III received his Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design, completing a European Honours Programme at the school in Rome, where the density and complexity of the city’s visual character informed his work around human connectivity, place and perception.




Since 2012, COS has presented unique and innovative collaborations with artists, designers, and architects in Milan during Salone del Mobile. Past collaborators include Gary Card, Bonsoir Paris, Nendo, Snarkitecture, and Sou Fujimoto, in addition to Studio Swine, whose installation with COS, New Spring, won the Milano Design Award for Most Engaging Exhibition during Milan Design Week last year.

London-based fashion brand COS creates modern, functional and considered design for women, men and children. COS uses traditional methods and new techniques to form understated collections made to last beyond the season. Committed to both timeless design and innovation, COS has supported the arts since the launch of the brand through collaborations with established and emerging artists, galleries and creative studios.


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