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Studio Sumo


Designers: Sunil Bald, Yolande Daniels

Studio SUMO was a finalist in the YAP competition in 2001. Their design NuNature combined the urban with the exotic, and explored the multiple meanings of the provocation "Paradise/Island."

Q&A with Studio Sumo

MoMA PS1: How did you position yourself to get nominated?
Sunil Bald and Yolande Daniels, Studio SUMO: We were nominated by Peter Wheelwright, who was then the Chair of the Department of Architecture at Parsons, where Sunil was teaching. At that time, it was not the annual event that it is now, so there was really no precedent to position oneself for nomination.

MoMA PS1: Did YAP change anything for you or your firm? When did you recognize the full potential of the competition?
Studio SUMO: We can't really say that it changed us much. However, the project did lead to an outpouring of ideas: discoveries made during the competition were integrated into later work. We did construct a full-scale portion of our Butterfly Wall made of vibrating sex toys at an exhibition of our work at University of Texas at Austin in 2002. However, we can't say that the competition directly led to other work or dramatic changes in our office structure.

MoMA PS1: How was your design shaped by the history of YAP?
Studio SUMO: At that point, there really was no history or precedent for design. SHoP had won the year before so there was only one example of the canopy-type project that most of the subsequent winners explored. Our approach was perhaps more programmatic than architectonic, where the "party" was primary, so we set out to enhance human/social interaction through a kind of analog nature. There was less of a burden from the examples of previous winners, but in our case, this led to a more open-ended and less-directed approach. Our proposal was more about multiple possibilities than a single solution, which in retrospect was our undoing.