The Third Space at Burning Man

Together with Alexander Rehn and Greutmann-Bolzern Design Studio, swissnex San Francisco brings the stunning zip tie installation The Third Space to the Burning Man festival deep in the Black Rock desert of Nevada.

Event Details


Burning Man
Black Rock Desert, Nevada United States


August 27, 2012 - September 04, 2012

The Third Space (or Der Dritte Raum in German) is a triangular spider web of 250,000 zip ties clutched over a wooden skeleton. Enter and discover a lounge including lit seating balls and hanging cocoons that invite visitors to lie down and relax and take in the futuristic environment around them. The wind blowing through the zip ties is the only sound and carries all cares away. The material offers an astoundingly sensuous quality and great flexibility, so that the visitor is dipped into an abstract landscape. The Third Space is a place to relax and to come home to surroundings that are otherworldly and shaped by its own lighted beauty.

The idea for The Third Space came out of a course in Interior Architecture taught by Swiss designers Carmen and Urs Greutmann-Bolzern at the Academy of Fine Arts Munich. The project explores mesh and pattern and deals with sociological issues such as profiling, community, and privacy as translated into different spatial situations. It was further developed by Greutmann-Bolzern student and current assistant, Alexander Rehn, and built by 52 other students working for 16,870 hours with their own hands.

swissnex San Francisco showed the Greutman-Bolzern exhibition Bubble Ballet in December 2011 and shortly thereafter began discussions to bring The Third Space to Burning Man. After showcases in Munich Paninotheka, Germany, Designer Saturday in Langenthal, Switzerland, and Luminaire Lab Design at Design Miami, The Third Space travels to Burning Man. With the help of swissnex, Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Arts Council, and the designers in Germany and Switzerland, an application was submitted to Burning Man in early 2012 and the project selected and supported as an official 2012 Honorarium Art Installation.

More Info

Artists and Crew:
Carmen Greutmann–Bolzern and Urs Greutmann opened their practice, Design Studio Greutmann Bolzern, in 1984 in Zurich, Switzerland. Since 2003, Carmen and Urs have taught at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich, Germany. During a course they were teaching, student Alexander Rehn built a hanging zip tie cocoon and The Third Space was born. After working for Greutmann-Bolzern from 2010 to 2012 in Zurich, Alexander is now their assistant at the Academy of Arts in Munich and runs his own design studio. He travels to Burning Man with fellow designers Bianca Keck und Alexander Deubl.

swissnex San Francisco staff Sophie Lamparter and Liliane Ackle are coordinating the project from the Bay Area.

About Burning Man:
Burning Man is a unique festival held annually in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada in the western United States. Participants describe the event as an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance. No money changes hands at the festival, where attendees organize themselves entirely. In 2011, more than 50,000 people attended Burning Man. The festival is named for the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy on Saturday evening of the weeklong event. Burning Man began in 1986 when founder Larry Harvey burned a nine-foot-tall wooden man on the summer solstice at Baker Beach in San Francisco. Since then, the festival has grown every year and draws the attention of artists and media from all over the world.


Photo: Myleen Hollero

Event Photos