by Rahul Kumar, Samta NadeemSep 13, 2022
The defined geometrical symmetry of the architectural space when given a twist to distort the anticipated field of vision, projection is no more a unidirectional experience for the viewer. It creates an 'event' to activate the kinetic self: a lead-up to make the unseen seen. Such digital and physical experiences are conceptualised, created and produced by the Amsterdam-based Guilt.studio team comprising Claudia Lavinia Cimpan (founder designer, Amsterdam), Marius Mihai Ardelean (partner architect, Berlin). The research and design studio uses space, existing or imagined, as a medium to invite the audience to be part of the ‘event’ they have created to break the pattern of the role of a usual spectator.
The geometrical shape of the multimedia works, for instance, Event.Is.Hollow is inspired by the major event that takes place in space: the black hole and how the light is pulled in at its event horizon. The light as a phenomenon is an embodiment of a multitude of contexts and behaviours. To create the visual experience of the same is the work Event.Is.Hollow: it is an object emitting light while searching for a way to embody geometry. In an interview with STIR, Cimpan and Ardelean elaborate on the features of Event.Is.Hollow to underscore the “event” it creates, “It is materialised in an aluminium torus, mounted on a circular frame which houses the LED light source, the surface gradually rippled according to a parametric algorithm, from the interior, minimum radius, peaking at the exterior maximum radius. The coating of shimmering epoxy offers a meeting surface for the emitted light and the reflected surrounding space to bend together. Changing the viewing position, the event becomes dynamic, enhanced by the image of light and surroundings being pulled in and emitted simultaneously. The end result is a hollow circle as an event, the light being materialised on the surface framing it. When light is turned off, the mirrored surface melts the surrounding space.”
With Momentum Lab, the studio is experimenting with the idea of shifting the narrative in retail towards a focused experience on a singular concept, a personalised invitation into an uninterrupted storytelling flow of the product, from virtual into physical. The idea is to manipulate space in a way to achieve its many other possibilities, which until now have not been explored. Momentum Lab is a retail space with no merchandise on display. The artist-duo expounds on the making of the display, "A suspended soft membrane container that serves as storage space enhanced with an automated delivery system for bringing the product to the user. A magnifying glass-like window that zooms into the main area of the space, connecting the street with the customer surface stage, generating an enhanced experience. The conceptual plot is to implement the momentum lab as a temporary installation in existing structures with minimal effort and interference.”
The recent art installation OM by the studio was a response to 'social architecture' brief to rethink how architecture can provide new typologies and ways to accommodate the current situation. It surely encourages the process to investigate the artistic side of architecture, to break habits, push boundaries and seek new territories by working across architecture, design, art, and beyond. The installation OM contributed to the vibrant atmosphere of the Charlottenborg courtyard. The artist-duo informs, “With OM, the intention was to boost social engagement by generating attraction, curiosity and surprise. Displacing the past with the present, heaviness with lightness, filling the emptiness with air, silence with voices - places with people, OM was experienced throughout its interaction with the elements (wind become sounds and movement, voices echoed, rain-delayed and redirected, light and surroundings mirrored or reflected)." The initial concept was elaborated in the first 72 hours and developed remotely over the next few weeks until the building process started. However, a few design elements were changed when the team arrived at the location and had to deal with unforeseen challenges. The design solutions were implemented on the site and the installation was created in two weeks: the physical six meters tall elevated volumes are filled with aluminium ducts to allow the space to flow unobstructed both visually and physically. “Aiming for a surprising visual presence, it mirrored the event and expanded the social engagement possibility by offering an open, playful safe space for social gatherings.”
The Guilt.studio aims to introduce multiple forms of experimentation by exchanging the predefined roles within existing and imagined environments, to develop a range of shapes, aesthetics, organisational systems and personal or social experiences. Given this, it is unlikely to have the research and design studio affirm, “Our process is unrestricted and not defined by a specific process of ideation. We can start from a generic product that we turn into a sensorial experience (Om Pavilion), a search into the geometry of light that becomes an object (Event.Is.Hollow), written words that are visualised as space (Surface of Things) or an existing issue that we feel we could give an answer to (Momentum Lab). This is why we chose not to be defined by what we do or how we do and we use a moving flag as a surface of representation or identity, a fluid frame that visualises our capability to move with ease across various disciplines.”
Both physical and digital experiences created by the Guilt.studio are based on reinterpreting the trained sense of space and contact with the environment, finding new ways of relating to existing surfaces and forms. Indeed, the 'events' produced by the artist-duo Cimpan and Ardelean successfully meet what they had set to achieve, "exercise our imagination through speculations and projections of spatial scenarios yet to exist".