Take a Look at the Stunning Craftsmanship Behind This Pop-Up Art Installation in DC

All photographs by Andrew Propp.

Originally published at Washingtonian.

The design masterminds who worked on Maketto, Bad Saint, and Erik Bruner-Yang’s Honeycomb Market have opened a pop-up art installation on Florida Ave. in Northeast DC. The installation, named “sortir de l’ombre” (or “out of the shadows”), was built by the design and build firm septcarrés to show off the beauty of simple, natural materials, and how light, lines, and space work together to create art.

“It’s unadulterated creativity,” said Criston Mize, the creative director at septcarrés. The installation, Mize says, “is just there to be there.”

From outside, the installation seems like an impossible maze. On the inside, the space opens up and reveals its simplicity. Two-by-four cuts of pine stack on top of one another, with very few nails strategically placed to offer additional support, and fluorescent light streams from the slatted pine walls. That’s it.

Mize says that the installation wasn’t originally meant to be seen from the inside: “We built this installation around the space. There are a lot of big, beautiful windows, so we thought it would be cool to have people’s perspective be from the outside looking in.”

The space septcarrés took over for this installation is provided by Indrit Bregasi of SQB Development, a real-estate development company that works on a variety of projects from homes to mixed-use spaces. Without Bregasi’s generosity and support, Mize says it could’ve taken much longer for the septcarrés team to do an art installation like sortir de l’ombre.

And with continued support from real-estate companies and landlords, Mize hopes septcarrés can do future installations around DC.

“I’d love to do more—we’d love to do more,” Mize said. “We want to be a part of the design culture here. ‘Made in DC’ is important. That’s important to us.”

The installation is viewable from the street 24/7, but Mize is also opening the space up to the public on January 16 and 23, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Once doors close on the 23rd, septcarrés will begin dismantling the installation.

Inside the art installation, it is very maze-like. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

Aside from designing and building out restaurants in the area, septcarrés also designs custom furniture (the bench, below, is just one example of its home collection). The group is expanding outside of its Deanwood workshop and building a showroom and shopping space in Capitol Hill. The 7th Street shop will display its projects, designs, and available products. The showroom is nearly finished, and Mize says it will open late January, after sortir de l’ombre is taken down.

Sept Carres focuses on wood work. All of the benches, carts, and storage pieces throughout the art installation were created by Sept Carres. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

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