Matthew Gillis, Assistant Professor at Woodbury School of Architecture and principal of the research and design practice G!LL!S, responded to the Materials & Applications (M&A) open call for designs for TURF: A Mini-Golf Project. Gillis’ project Articial Turf has been selected by the M&A team to be represented in TURF from June 18 to July 31 in Los Angeles. Join the TURF launch party on June 18 at 6pm and the TURF Tournament summer benefit event on June 26 at 12pm.
TURF: A Mini-Golf Project explores the meaning of terrain and territory in Los Angeles through the architecture of mini-golf. The mini-golf course becomes a playful trope of the city of Los Angeles, articulated through artificial terrains, winding territories and fantastical architecture. Launched as an open call in 2015, TURF asked architects, designers and artists to design a single architectural obstacle that investigates a contemporary Los Angeles condition — including topics such as drought and lawns, parking and traffic, nature and neighborhoods, housing typologies and identity — in the form of the miniature and the absurd.
Gillis’ project Artificial Turf introduces an undulating mirrored plastic terrain, deforming one’s location or turf into abstract image field. The project seeks an escape from the traditional tropes of mini-golf obstacles, by attempting to draw out an absence of object and a presence of affect. Bringing the sky to the ground, the ceiling to floor, and the grass to the underside, the project aims to turn the mini-golf fairway into a rich visual field with an ever changing reading.
The mirrored fairway provides multi-directional play, allowing for golfers to continuously play and reflect on the visual field of city and themselves as the ball returns to the tee until they make a ‘hole in one’. A constantly shifting reading between foreground/background, figure/color, and fixed/mobile defines a new territory for the image of the city and ways of playing the mini-golf.
The project is designed and fabricated by G!LL!S, an architectural design and research studio integrating a multidisciplinary approach between architecture, art, and landscape. The research focuses on emerging ecologies, technologies, and material systems in contemporary culture. While privileging design processes that produce material affects and dense sensual experiences, the studio is constantly reconsidering and re-conceptualizing built environments. In either speculative or practical projects, G!LL!S seeks innovative and evocative design solutions.