Category Archives: Ideation and Thinking

Renaud de Cormont, Amiens Cathedral Labyrinth (1288)

  • Designer: Renaud de Cormont
  • Location: Amiens, France
  • Date: 1288 (reproduced in the 19th century)
  • Size: perimeter of 136.5 feet
  • Materials: stone

The Labyrinth of Amiens Cathedral is the second largest in France, being slightly smaller than its cousin in Chartres.[3]  Measuring about 12.1 meters wide, the labyrinth occupies the entire width of the fourth and fifth bays of the nave, and is thought to have originally been placed in the cathedral in 1288.[4]  Although it is octagonal, its tracks follow the same pattern as Chartres, which is why it is considered to be an Octagonal, Chartres-type labyrinth.[5] Comprised of “white-and-blue-black” stones, its entrance opens to the west, with the white stones acting as the labyrinthine obstacles.

Prior to the French Revolution, the labyrinth’s center comprised of a medallion which stated:

In the year of grace 1220, the construction of this church first began.  Blessed Evrard was at that time bishop of the diocese.  The king of France was then Louis the son of Philip the wise.  He who directed the work was called Master Robert, surnamed Luzarches.  Master Thomas de Cormont came after him, and after him his son Renaud, who had placed here this inscription in the year of the incarnation, 1288.[6]” [credit]

[1] Source: Louis la Vache, “Les Cathédrales De France:Nôtre-Dame-d’Amiens.”  The Frog Blog Of Louis La Vache. Web. 07 Mar. 2010. <>.

[2] Source: “Labyrinth Design on Interior of Amiens Cathedral – Rights Managed – Corbis.” Stock Photography, Illustration and Footage – Corbis. Web. 07 Mar. 2010. <>.

[3] Craig Wright, The Maze and the Warrior (Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 2001) 59.

[4] Wright, 60; Hermann Kern, Through the Labyrinth: Designs and Meanings over 5,000 Years (New York, Prestel, 2000) 253; see also Jean Macrez, Le Labyrinthe de la cathédrale d’Amiens (Amiens, 1990).

[5] Wright, 59.

[6] Kern, 149; Wright, 60; the original French document is kept in Amiens, Archives départementales de la Somme, MS 2975, fol. 247; Stephen Murray, Notre-Dame Cathedral of Amiens: The Power of Change in Gothic (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1996) 129.

[7] Source: “Amiens Cathedral Labyrinth.” Paxworks Labyrinths, Canvas Labyrinths Spiritual Prayer Gifts Gospel Peace. Web. 05 Mar. 2010. <>.


Saffron Walden Turf Maze (Labyrinth) (uknown)

  • Designer / builder: unknown
  • Location: Saffron Walden, Essex, England
  • Date: unknown, initially re-cut in 1699, bricks laid around path in 1911 (relaid 1979)
  • Size: 132 foot labyrinth diameter
  • Materials: turf

“The Turf Maze (Labyrinth) on the Common is of great antiquity and importance. It is the largest example of its type in the world and is one of the eight surviving turf labyrinths in England. Its design is basically circular with 17 circuits. Four bastions at equal distances around the circumference give the labyrinth a total diameter of 132 feet. It is enclosed by a bank and ditch, the overall dimensions of which are 150 x 110 feet. The pathway follows grooves cut in the turf and approaches a mile in length.

Restorations of this labyrinth are recorded for 1826, 1841, 1859, 1887 and 1911, when the pathway was laid with bricks on edge. The most recent re-cutting was completed in 1979. On this occasion the bricks were relaid flat.

The Saffron Walden Mazes leaflet can be seen by clicking here Saffron Walden Mazes” [credit]

Jeppe Hein, 3-Dimensional Mirror Labyrinth (2005)

a mirror maze

The mirrored lamellae of the labyrinth sticking up from the ground within the park.

  • Designer: Jeppe Hein
  • Location: Anyang Public Art Project, Anyang, Korea
  • Date: 2005
  • Size: diameter of 26.25 feet, height of 7.2 feet
  • Materials: steel frame, PVC, polished steel mirrors

This is a site-specific installation comprised of equidistant reflective posts. The mirror-polished stainless steel posts are arranged in three radiating arcs that form the labyrinth, distorting the surroundings. The posts are set at various heights, but maintain a consistent width.

Visitors are encouraged to walk the pathways formed by the negative space, with each step further altering their already shifted perception of the installation site. The mirrored posts appear to recede into the landscape at times and boldly contrast it at others, ensuring a unique experience for each individual visitor. Mirror Labyrinth alternately obscures and reveals its environment, providing a rich new perspective. [credit]

Pezo von Ellrichshausen, 120 Doors Pavillion (2003)

  • Designer: Mauricio Pezo and Sofía von Ellrichshausen (Pezo von Ellrichshausen architecture firm)
  • Location: Ecuador Park, Concepción, Chile
  • Date: 2003
  • Materials: wood, tubular steel

“The 120 Doors Pavilion, installed in Ecuador Park, in the city of Conception, Chile, is a structure of tubular steel tubes supporting wooden standard doors. The doors are arranged in 5 continuous and consecutive perimeters; the outer one with four sides of ten doors each and, inwards, sides of eight, six, four and two doors.

From the authors’ description of the work:

These five perimeters operate as fences that confine a progressive sequence of interiority and depth of the space. Seen from the outside the exterior perimeter is a compact horizontal block. In the interior space is closed laterally and opens to the sky and the ground. This configuration establishes a series of paths along narrow spaces, vertical in section, that dissolve into a cubic central space confined within the smallest perimeter.

With this, what we were really looking for was a way to evidence how relative and artificial the distinctions of limits within a work of architecture are and, hence, within one of art. We are interested in exploring the points of transmission, or friction, between one place and another. We think of the doors as a turning point that subverts temporally the definition of space, adding a dynamic dimension to the construction of walls in a work of architecture, something that could be seen as a key that regulates the fluctuation of forces.

After a brief installation in a public park, the doors were donated to public housing and the structure was the only thing that remained in the place, apparently indestructible due to its nakedness or, as Breuer said about his chairs, because its volume occupies no space.

Two years later (2005) the duo proposed a reduced version of the pavilion featuring “only” 36 doors that was installed in Santiago, Chile.

Giuseppe Castiglione, Wanhua Zhen (1756-1759)

  • Designer: Giuseppe Castiglione
  • Location: Summer Palace, Beijing, China
  • Date: built 1756-1759, rebuild 1977-1992
  • Size: 232 x 193.5 feet
  • Materials: stone

“The Wanhua Zhen (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: wàn huā zhèn; lit. ‘10,000-flower maze’), or Huanghuazhen (simplified Chinese: 黄花阵; traditional Chinese: 黃花陣; pinyin: huánghuāzhèn; lit. ‘yellow-flower maze’,


40°0′44.46″N 116°18′8.10″E) is a maze formed of 1.2 m (3 ft 11 in)-high embossed-brick walls covering an area of 89 m × 59 m (292 ft × 194 ft). The total length of the walls is 1.6 km (0.99 mi). In its center sits a European-style circular pavilion. The emperor is said to have sat in this pavilion to watch his concubines competing in a race with yellow lanterns through the labyrinth on the occasion of the Mid-Autumn Festival. ” [credit]

“Later when age prevented the Qianlong Emperor from visiting Chengde for Mid-Autumn, there would be a maze competition held in his honor at Yuanmingyuan, and the Emperor would personally award the winner. Holding lanterns, palace servants would try to find their way out of the Wanhuazhen Western-style maze. Seated above, Qianlong must have had a remarkable vantage of the bright steadfast moon in the night sky and below it the flurry of lanterns casting about like shooting stars. As always, spreads of delicacies were placed before of him, while his children and grandchildren frolicked at his feet, and his empresses and consorts stood by his side. These festivities took place every autumn year after year, until the Qianlong Emperor passed away at the age of 87 as Emperor Emeritus of the Qing dynasty.” [credit]

Walk & Squawk, The Walking Project (2003-2006)

photos of a performance project

Walk and Squawk, The Walking Project (2003-2006)

“The Drawing Project began in Detroit in 1999 and became an interdisciplinary performance, mapping and cultural-exchange project collaboratively developed by Walk & Squawk (Hilary Ramsden and Erika Block), with U.S. and South Africa-based artists and communities during a series of residencies in Detroit and KwaZulu-Natal from 2003 through 2006. Inspired by desire lines people made across vacant lots in Detroit and across fields in South Africa we explored the paths we walk and how they are formed through culture, geography, language, economics and love. We looked at how changing our patterns of movement can alter our attitudes and perception, how taking a different path can alter our lives. We discovered how learning language alters the actual paths in our brains and how taking a car means something very different from taking a walk.” [credit]

The Walking Reading Group (2013)

Walking Reading Group Trailer from SPACE on Vimeo.

“The Walking Reading Group, running since 2013, is a project that facilitates knowledge exchange in an intimate and dynamic way through discussing texts whilst walking together. In this reading group the table is broken up by the street and the dominant voice is replaced with the sound of conversation partners talking simultaneously. Anyone can participate and the walks are free to attend. TWRG was founded by Ania Bas and Simone Mair and is run by Lydia Ashman and Ania Bas.

As a result of our residency at Art House, Jersey in 2017, we initiated an edition on Care, our ongoing long term focus, in which we are working with partners across sectors – including the arts, health, science – to explore and reveal practices of care. So far in this edition, we have collaborated with Ash Project, Whitstable Biennale, The Photographers’ Gallery, [SPACE], St Joseph’s Hospice, The Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership, Arts Territory and Od Arts Festival.” [credit]

“Texts are provided in advance and walks begin at ___ where participants can also pick up a copy of the specially commissioned publication.

The resulting experience of walking for up to two hours, swapping conversation partners and perspectives several times, is one of intimacy created through sharing and listening, the respect for ideas and difference. Thoughts are processed quickly, the surrounding landscape becomes a blur, time is suspended and within this moment bonds between strangers are formed. …

Each walk is underpinned by a selection of texts that explore the theme of ____ from multiple points of views. All four walks start at ____ but each finishes in a different part of ____. Exact finish locations will be disclosed later.” [credit]

Deriva Mussol, Night Walks (2013)

people walking at night

Deriva Mussol, Night Walks (2013)

“It was back in 2013, when ACVic, the local arts center of Vic, hos- ted the project Deriva Mussol (its literal translation would be “owl drift”), led by artists Jordi Lafon and Eva Marichalar with the collaboration of the Aula de Teatre (a theater group) of the University of Vic [Barcelona, Spain]. They wanted to collectively create a theatrical proposal that would take place in the streets of Vic. Besides this desire, the only thing they knew is that they wan- ted to open the process of creation to everyone, so that everyone who wanted could participate in it. In order to do so, they invited people to go deriving at night with them through the streets of Vic to wherever the walking would take them. Even though a feeling of awkwardness may awaken to some people when hearing or reading the word “derive” (I would not say it is a really “common” word), in fact, the instructions were so simple that they could be reduced to two key- words: night, walk. Nothing else. The invitation was communicated by ACVic. Everyone was invited. By doing this, they had set up a common ground for secret encounters to happen. At least once per week, different peoples, of different ages, coming from many backgrounds and with different interests walked together without any other expectation than simply this: walking together.

There was nothing that could go wrong. The possibility of doing something wrongly did not exist. Even the common civil laws and social rules of political correctness where almost forgotten thanks to the fact of walking by night guided by curiosity, spontaneity and a playful attitude. Streets were empty; no one was watching. They did 12 derives. Some people went just once and it was okay. Some people participated in all of them and it was also okay. In any case, as Marichalar wrote, a stable group of 10 people was progressively constituted (2013, p. 29). Each deriving session was complemented by another session, called “Parlem” (“let’s talk”) dedicated to talking about the experience.

people talking around a table

Deriva Mussol, Night Walks (2013)

All the members of the group met around a table and shared whatever they wanted to with the others; photos, videos, drawings, maps, thoughts,whatever. After the 12 sessions they had an idea for a theatrical proposal that took finally place and that was presented to the public as a street art performance. From my point of view, the fact that this performance was useful to communicate and share the project with more people is something secondary, if we compare it to the importance that it had for the group of walkers and talkers as a self-representation. In other words, it was a representation of, precisely, themselves as a group; a kind of family.” [credit]

Deirdre (Dee) Heddon and Misha Myers, The Walking Library (2012-)

“From August 17 to September 17, 2012, Deirdre Heddon and Misha Myers created and carried a Walking Library, made for the Sideways Arts Festival. Sideways, an art festival ‘in the open’ and ‘on the go’, aimed to connect ecology and culture through using the ‘slow ways’ or ‘slow paths’ of Flanders. The Walking Library was comprised of more than 90 books suggested as books ‘good to take for a walk’ and functioned as a mobile library for Sideways’ artists and public participants. In addition to carrying a curated stock, the Library offered a peripatetic reading and writing group. Drawing on the Library’s resources and the experience of reading, writing and walking one’s way across Belgium, Heddon and Myers consider how reading in situ affects the experience of the journey and the experience of walking; how journeying affects the experience of reading; how reading affects the experience of writing; and how a walk, as a space of knowledge production, is written and read.” [credit]

The Walking Library

Cecilia Ramón, Free Range Trials (2018)


paths in the grass

Cecilia Ramon, Free Range Trials

Cecilia Ramon’s drawings, projection and earthwork, focus on ocean currents, water movements and aquatic organisms. Oceangrass, an earthworks installation piece, is a walk to experience the planetary path of the Thermohaline Ocean Global Current.