Teresa Sapey Urban Beautification
Introducing Theresa Sapey
To start discussing the extraordinary talents of artist Teresa Sapey, we must first define the notion of urban design in “non-places”. One might ask the question, “But isn’t everything a place?” Well technically, yes, but some are much more a focal point and actual destination, whereas some are understood as functional parts of urban life, incapable of being attractions themselves. Non-places are often sterile purgatories, anonymous and absent of personality.
While her designs for exclusive hotels, restaurants, and retail stores have made headlines, she is especially well-known for her art in public places. The quintessential example of a non-place is a parking
lot, the exact locations Sapey specializes in transforming. World renowned architect Jean Nouvel, with whom Teresa Sapey has collaborated, even dubbed her “Madame Parking”.
“Non-places are places, they are just places that until now we have not thought of as important.”
Considering the location and history of each neighborhood where she is commissioned, the designer imbues each project with personality. Just like she bridges the textual and visual worlds in her design
imagery, she also negotiates the polarized notions of human and industry. This is achieved through innovative graphics and perfect color schemes. She doesn’t just add urban design to non-places, she has
actually expanded the perception of what these actual places can be and how they can look. All of this is done in a balanced and often multi-media approach, creating an immersive and unexpected experience
for both commuter and flaneur.
Sapey grew up in beautiful Turin, Italy. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Parsons School of Design in Paris, France and went on to secure a Master as well, focusing on all aspects of workplace design. In 2004 her work incidentally took a turn in an unexpected direction after exquisitely executing the Puerta De América Hotel parking lot design. Such high praise for the project led to many other similar commissions. In 2010, she received the “Best Designer of the Year” award from Architectural Digest Magazine in Spain, whose capital of Madrid is home to her current office.
“Architecture is my life and passion. It’s my way of understanding beauty and doing something great with it.”
Her urban design projects in non-places are scattered all over Spain and bring a much-needed dose of emotion to spaces lacking humanity. When not tirelessly creating iconic artworks, she teaches others to
create at numerous universities across Madrid and at her alma mater, La Villette in Paris. The energetic mind with which she masterfully designs pushes the boundaries of her field, whilst always achieving a