Opening Night: Philippe Rahm, The Anthropocene Style

Join us to celebrate the first United States solo exhibition of internationally renowned Swiss artist and architect Philippe Rahm.

Event Details


Walter and McBean Galleries, SFAI Chestnut Street Campus
800 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, California 94133 United States


March 30, 2018 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-08:00)



Philippe Rahm: The Anthropocene Style is the first United States solo exhibition of internationally renowned Paris-based Swiss artist and architect Philippe Rahm. The exhibition manifests Rahm’s ideas surrounding the urgency of climate change through an architecture and design process that takes climate, atmosphere, and physiology as its primary material.

SFAI’s galleries will become a testing ground for Rahm’s experimental new interior design ‘fabrics:’ emissive tapestries, effusive carpeting, and spectral light, all of which will be calibrated to interact with human body heat depending on external temperatures. The exhibition centers on a series of spatial and physiological audience experiences involving prototypes of tapestries, carpets, and other materials. Designed to shift the audience’s perception, the exhibition also includes didactic materials in the form of publications and lectures by the architect.

Rahm’s exhibition integrates materials such as fabrics, lighting, and patterns into interior building design, a contrast to the spare, minimalist “white cube” style of the later twentieth century. Rahm argues that minimalist Modern architecture, which in its spareness often relies on artificial heating and cooling systems that use precious resources and produce harmful elements, has hastened global warming and is unsustainable for the future.


6pm — doors open
9pm — doors close


Philippe Rahm: The Anthropocene Style is curated by Hesse McGraw and organized by SFAI. The exhibition is co-presented with swissnex San Francisco and supported by Pro Helvetia, Swiss Arts Council; supported by Etant Donnés Contemporary Art, a program of FACE Foundation; and developed in partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States. Lead funding is provided by the Florence Gould Foundation, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, and the French Ministry of Culture and Institut Français-Paris.


Philippe Rahm is a Swiss architect and the founder and principal of Philippe Rahm architectes, based in Paris, France. His work, which extends the field of architecture from the physiological to the meteorological, has received an international audience in the context of sustainability.

In Venice, Rahm represented Switzerland at the 8th Architecture Biennale (2002) and was included in Aaron Betsky’s exhibition Out There: Architecture Beyond Building (2008). He has participated in a number of exhibitions worldwide including Centre Pompidou, Paris; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal; Manifesta 7; and more.

He has taught and lectured widely, including the AA School in London, Mendrisio Academy of Architecture in Switzerland, School of Architecture of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Cooper Union, UCLA, and more.

His recent work includes the new 70-hectare Taichung Gateway Park in Taiwan, set to open in August 2018. Monographic books include Physiological Architecture published by Birkhaüser in 2002, Distortions published by HYX in 2005, Environ(ne)ment: Approaches for Tomorrow published by Skira in 2006, Architecture Météorologique published by Archibooks in 2009, and Constructed Atmospheres published by Postmedia in 2014.

Featured image: Bio image: Philippe Rahm, Spectral Light , video still, Artemide Showroom Corso Monforte, Milan, 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Artemide, Milan

Event Photos