Maker Monday: An Aspire Exclusive Interview With Nicole Landau

Architecture, photography, science, and spirituality make up the insatiable recipe of Nicole Landau’s pieces. Each one of her compositions teleports you into a different astral plane. From the colors she meticulously chooses to the shapes she uses to distort and disrupt, each work is stitched together to create a piece that can fit in any commercial or residential space. Now, taking it one step further, Landau has created an interactive glass sculpture in LA inspired by the sonic String Theory; a theorem that suggests all fundamental forms of matter are vibrating strings, each corresponding to musical notes. Introducing this week’s Maker Monday, Nicole Landau.

This progressive sculpture created by Landau comes to life through music, sounds from the environment, or the active participation from a person. With those sounds come light, creating a visually unique experience for everyone.

This progressive sculpture created by Landau comes to life through music, sounds from the environment, or the active participation from a person. With those sounds come light, creating a visually unique experience for everyone.

Andrew Joseph: Describe your sculptural style as if you were explaining it to someone who cannot see.
Nicole Landau: The UNI-VERSE sculpture is an interactive art sculpture that re-ignites optimism and human connection during this unprecedented time. It is inspired by the science of the String Theory, which describes all fundamental forms of matter as vibrating strings, each corresponding to musical notes. Physics, creation and the Universe are a symphony of these vibrating strings culminating in one song: a UNI-VERSE.

The UNI-VERSE flourishes through its response to music, sound from the environment, or the participation of an observer. With each sound registered, UNI-VERSE lights up progressively to become a visual incarnation of sound.

UNI-VERSE will be constructed out of Bohemian glass with optical effects. Looking like bones emerging from the earth or as if you are walking into the eye of the universe, the sculpture is 28 ft long and 14 ft wide with each pillar ranging from 5 ft to 12 ft in height. The mirrored base reflects the infinite beauty of its surroundings. The sculpture invites visitors inside to observe and engage, transforming the sculpture into a unique luminescent object.

Andrew: How do you define beauty?
Nicole: Beauty comes from energy and vibration; it’s rarely how something actually looks. I believe you can feel the beauty of something when you are in its presence. As I began to understand the String Theory, I saw the energy of the UNI-VERSE sculpture and my early works differently. I understood that everything in the universe is a vibration. For instance, my original art is what I refer to as abstract impressionism. Abstract impressionism to me is about color, composition and the energy that can fill a room. There is a calm energy that emanates from my art because my creative process is a form of mediation.

The UNI-VERSE sculpture is my first major sculpture project. Although I am an abstract artist/photographer, I have been exploring new mediums over the past several years. I have a degree in architecture and have always been interested in the exploration and utilization of different materials. This work, although a departure from my photography, still holds the same calm, strong energy.

In this space is one of Landau’s Custom Blue Pearl works. The fluidity in colors and hues makes this piece the anchor of the entire room and instills it with an essence of tranquility and togetherness.

In this space is one of Landau’s Custom Blue Pearl works. The fluidity in colors and hues makes this piece the anchor of the entire room and instills it with an essence of tranquility and togetherness.

Andrew: What’s something you always travel with?
Nicole: I always travel with my camera. Every city that I explore, I take pictures of architectural elements, and this becomes the palette and basis for my fine art photography.

Andrew: What would your dream project or dream client be right now?
Nicole: The UNI-VERSE sculpture is my dream project right now. I’ve been spending more than a year conceptualizing it and developing the shape and the inspiration behind it. This sculpture is designed to be dynamic and captivating in any setting: an outdoor public sculpture garden, a grand entrance to a hotel, a centerpiece featured at a campus, a music festival or art fair. UNI-VERSE brings people together harmoniously as the world embarks on a new beginning. This is a pivotal moment for us all. As the sculpture has a universal appeal, there is no limitation as to its location. The work is conducive as both an interior or an exterior installation and can be adapted to many different scenarios.

My dream (I have many, so it is hard to choose) is to be commissioned by the Chateau La Coste, which is a vineyard 20 min from Aix-en-Provence in the south of France. The last time I was in France, it was the highlight of my travels. I loved walking through the hills that surround the acres of vines and discovering the commissioned sculptures sprinkled throughout the property. Artists and architects featured include Richard Serra, Calder, Louise Bourgeois, Jean Nouvel, Renzo Piano, Tadao Ando, Ai Weiwei…the list goes on. I finished the day in their Provencal restaurant drinking organic wine and eating lunch in their garden restaurant. Amazing! I am looking forward to going back.

Andrew: How would you define your work in three words?
Nicole: Spiritual. Organic. Architectural.

Hanging prominently on the East wall is “Midnight Blue” created by Landau. The dark tones accompanied by other elements in the room create a comfortable and intimate setting where one can sit and relax and be alone with their thoughts.

Hanging prominently on the East wall is “Midnight Blue” created by Landau. The dark tones accompanied by other elements in the room create a comfortable and intimate setting where one can sit and relax and be alone with their thoughts.

Andrew: What’s inspiring you in life (in the industry) right now?
Nicole: Snohetta and Santiago Calatrava have been major influences and inspirations for my artwork. Their architectural projects are beautifully engineered and also inspired by nature.

Andrew: What would you like remembered about you?
Nicole: Outside of being a contemporary fine artist, my friends and family will remember me for my delectable scones. They are addictive, and I am often coerced into baking for them all day. It’s a fun way for me to gift and bring joy into the world…but only the lucky ones get a batch.

Andrew: Has your mindset changed in 2021? In what ways? How has this informed your thoughts about design?
Nicole: Although my sculpture has always been about the creation of One Song, a UNI-VERSE, with people coming together in its creation; with the onset of Covid-19, connection became more important to everyone and lack of connection became so apparent.

“Buenos Aires Sunset” pictured above is extremely eye-catching and invites you in. It features heavy notes of orange and has a warm yet severe ambiance.

“Buenos Aires Sunset” pictured above is extremely eye-catching and invites you in. It features heavy notes of orange and has a warm yet severe ambiance.

Andrew: Where will be the first place you will travel after COVID-19?
Nicole: Can we just go someplace? How can I narrow that down to one place? Experiencing different cultures and meeting different people from around the world is the spice of life. I was planning to travel to Italy and Greece in 2020…so perhaps I’ll revisit that.

Andrew: Who/what was your biggest supporter or motivator in these unsettling times?
Nicole: Wendy Posner, my business partner on the UNI-VERSE sculpture, has been a strong supporter and motivator for at least half of my career in art. Wendy and I met when I cold-called her seeking new art advisors outside of Los Angeles, and it turned out she lives five blocks from me.


About The Maker | Nicole Landau, a contemporary multimedia artist, works in photography and presently monumental, illuminated glass sculpture. Landau holds a degree in Architecture from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Drawing inspiration from her background, Landau’s artwork is deeply rooted in architecture, science, nature and spirituality. Landau was born in and currently resides in Los Angeles, California. Her works are in numerous international private, corporate, and hospitality collections. Landau’s work has been featured in exhibitions around the world including La Maison D’Arte, Art Up! Art Fair, Holly Hunt Los Angeles and Art Basel.


Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for aspire design and home magazine. See more of his work here.

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