Space Popular X teamLab: Cross Border Conversations

Sense and Sensoriality
STIR X LOCO Design present architects Lara Lesmes and Fredrik Hellberg in dialogue with Takashi Kudo of an art collective on their practices that create virtual spaces.

by Zohra Khan Published on : Jul 16, 2020

The second episode of Cross Border Conversations pairs London-based architects Lara Lesmes and Fredrik Hellberg of multidisciplinary studio Space Popular with Takashi Kudo, who helms communications at art collective teamLab based in Tokyo.

The freewheeling chat led by STIR’s Editor, Arts, Rahul Kumar, explores the overlaps between Lara, Fredrik and Takashi’s practices that find common ground in the virtual space - where one is involved in transcending the footprint of architecture beyond the physical realm, the other connects art with its lovers to ensure that it is not only seen but fully experienced as one being an extension of the other.

In the 40-minute conversation, the three share fond memories of their childhood when hours were spent playing immersive video games such as Nintendo and Mario, their first introduction to the idea of alternate reality. They relate that these games, which involved no language in order to experience the worlds inside of them, largely informed their understanding of virtual worlds, leading up to their current practices.

  • Massless Clouds Between Sculpture and Life, teamLab, 2020 | Cross Border Conversations | Space Popular X teamLab | STIR X LOCO Design
    Massless Clouds Between Sculpture and Life, teamLab, 2020 Image Credit: Courtesy of teamLab
  • The Way of the Sea, Transcending Space - Gold Light, Floating Nest, teamLab, 2018  | Cross Border Conversations | Space Popular X teamLab | STIR X LOCO Design
    The Way of the Sea, Transcending Space - Gold Light, Floating Nest, teamLab, 2018 Image Credit: Courtesy of teamLab
  • Waterfall Droplets, Little Drops Cause Large Movement, teamLab, 2018  | Cross Border Conversations | Space Popular X teamLab | STIR X LOCO Design
    Waterfall Droplets, Little Drops Cause Large Movement, teamLab, 2018 Image Credit: Courtesy of teamLab
  • Grid Spaces, teamLab, 2018  | Cross Border Conversations | Space Popular X teamLab | STIR X LOCO Design
    Grid Spaces, teamLab, 2018 Image Credit: Courtesy of teamLab
  • Floating Flower Garden, teamLab, 2015  | Cross Border Conversations | Space Popular X teamLab | STIR X LOCO Design
    Floating Flower Garden, teamLab, 2015 Image Credit: Courtesy of teamLab
We still do not know if our output is art or not. It is going to be decided in the histories. – Takashi Kudo, teamLab, Tokyo

Takashi, who represents a hybrid group of specialists that includes artists, programmers, animators and architects, believes that their process which involves working with teams to create art is almost impossible to explain. “It is like a joke,” he says, “and when we explain a joke with words, we kill the joke.”

Lara and Fredrik, who experiment with virtual architecture in immersive internet, share that though their work can be called ‘art’, they are always asked to explain it in words. “In architecture, people tend to forget the creative footprint that you have on every piece of work, and that everything is not about problem solving,” says Lara who established Space Popular in 2013 along with Fredrik.

  •  Freestyle, Architecture Gallery, RIBA, London (2020)  | Cross Border Conversations | Space Popular X teamLab | STIR X LOCO Design
    Freestyle, Architecture Gallery, RIBA, London (2020) Image Credit: Courtesy of Space Popular
  • A two-dimensional capture from the immersive film of ‘Freestyle’ exhibition  (2020)  | Cross Border Conversations | Space Popular X teamLab | STIR X LOCO Design
    A two-dimensional capture from the immersive film of ‘Freestyle’ exhibition (2020) Image Credit: Courtesy of Space Popular
  •  The Venn Room at the Tallinn Architecture Biennale, Estonia (2019)   | Cross Border Conversations | Space Popular X teamLab | STIR X LOCO Design
    The Venn Room at the Tallinn Architecture Biennale, Estonia (2019) Image Credit: Courtesy of Space Popular
  • The Wardian Case, Palazzo Reale, Milan (2019)   | Cross Border Conversations | Space Popular X teamLab | STIR X LOCO Design
    The Wardian Case, Palazzo Reale, Milan (2019) Image Credit: Courtesy of Space Popular
  • Gate of Bright Lights, Gwangmyeongmun Gate at Deoksugung Palace, Seoul (2019)  | Cross Border Conversations | Space Popular X teamLab | STIR X LOCO Design
    Gate of Bright Lights, Gwangmyeongmun Gate at Deoksugung Palace, Seoul (2019) Image Credit: Courtesy of Space Popular
There is a comfort that I would like to learn from — which is to be comfortable when you cannot put something into words. – Lara Lesmes and Fredrik Hellberg, Space Popular, London

Having started their career in Bangkok, Lara and Fredrik find a vast difference in the creative approaches of the East and the West. The landscape, she says, is divided by a proclivity for intuition, and ‘working beyond words’ in the East versus an emphasis on objective and rationale in the West.

Diving into each other’s creative journeys, Lara, Fredrik and Takashi agree that an immersive spatial experience generated through constructed physical elements is no different from one that is provided using digital tools such as screens and projections. And that in these blurred boundaries between architecture and art lies the path to explore new avenues in the future.

The conversation also includes interesting subjects such as virtual minimalism, creativity that embraces common sense, the value of heritage in digital times and the shape of things to come in architecture and art in the post-pandemic world.

This and a lot more in the video above!

Cross Border Conversations
Curated by Pramiti Madhavji and Amit Gupta, STIR X LOCO Design present candid video conversations among creative professionals across geographical borders and creative disciplines of architecture, design, art and beyond.

LOCO Design: Shape of things to come
Steered by values of leadership and integrity, LOCO Design strives to create aesthetic innovation with a creative essence enriched by design values, master artisans and technical expertise, contributing to a responsible future.
Know more at www.locodesign.in

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