Over at the CHAMBER gallery in New York City, their first exhibition of 2016 shows off pieces specially designed by Steven Holl Architects, Leong Leong, and Levenbetts for "Unpacking the Cube". The exhibition asked the three studios — who are each at different points in their professional careers — to dig deep into the conceptual roots of their practices and manifest those concepts into physical objects, which are currently on display at the gallery.
Different approaches are evidently at play in each studio's approach. But at the same time, they all explore the common architectural theme of our abstract understanding of space and form as well as the possibilities of how we inhabit and interact with the built environment.
Read on for more.
"In collaboration with Chamber, 'Unpacking The Cube' curator Andrew Zuckerman prompted LEONG LEONG, LEVENBETTS, and STEVEN HOLL ARCHITECTS to reach into the conceptual roots of their practice and convey them via physical objects for the exhibition space.
The results of their inquiries approach the idea of fundamentals from different perspectives, focusing on social exchange, spatial concerns, and conceptual experimentation. In distinct ways, their proposals depart from and adapt the essential form of the cube, and propose different answers to the question of whether and how it is possible to collect architecture."
On the other hand, "while each studio's physical proposals vary greatly, a common thread runs through [them]", CHAMBER describes. "Functional both as collectible sculptures and as prototypes for larger structures, their inventive forms, at their most basic, articulate answers and generate questions about the connections between our abstract understanding of space and form, and the practical ways in which people inhabit and interact with architecture."
LEONG LEONG: "Toolkit for a Newer Age"
"For Chris and Dominic Leong of LEONG LEONG, the collection of objects are an exploration of architecture's potential to connect the individual to the collective. The nine objects, fabricated with advanced techniques by QUARRA STONE and composed of pink cubic Himalayan salt blocks, are meant to prompt both individual introspection and communal contemplation. Together, they form a 'Toolkit for a Newer Age,' a set of objects that fulfill basic human needs while remaining in some ways monumentally abstract."
STEVEN HOLL ARCHITECTS: “Ex of In”
"STEVEN HOLL ARCHITECTS presents concrete, aluminum, walnut, and 3-D printed objets d’art. Developed as part of Holl’s architecture think tank/lab 'Ex of In,' or 'Explorations of In,' the sculptures are the result of an investigation into 'what is possible in architecture,' reconsidering architecture as an art and questioning its ongoing potential for shaping public space and social openness. The series has cubic form at its origin, presenting explorations of the overlapping of positive and negative space of spheres, cubes, and tesseracts."
LEVENBETTS: "not to scale"
"Stella Betts and David Leven of LEVENBETTS developed 'not to scale.' Based on a hollow wedge-shaped building block—a re-conceiving, perhaps, of the proverbial building block, the cube—'not to scale' is based on the idea of 'utter scalability.' The concept was born out of their inquiry into strategies of aggregation, in addition to their interest in prioritizing access to light and an outside view when shaping physical spaces. Multipurpose and adaptable, 'not to scale' can operate in landscapes, in cities, and as part of housing structures, but is also adaptable for interior furnishings like seating structures and shelving."
All photos courtesy of CHAMBER.
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