by Meghna MehtaNov 02, 2019
Imagine gazing through a space telescope, decorating a model town, creating rooms using light and smoke, discovering a bees temple, taking a nap above the clouds, or visiting the space station where you can build your own masterpiece.
The gallery space of the Utzon Center in Aalborg city of Denmark has been turned into an architectural playground. Children are invited to explore a multi-sensorial exhibition, titled Space Crazy, which as the name suggests, invites them to let loose and go crazy with space.
Six international architectural studios, which include Copenhagen-based practices such as ADEPT and JAJA, Oslo-based Reiulf Ramstad Architects, and Studio Poesis of Aalborg, have created offbeat and batty spatial installations within the gallery that pique curiosity and make one learn design and architecture, the fun way.
Here's a sneak peek into some installations:
1. Rumkikkert (Space Telescope) | JAJA
Step inside the telescopic space and look into endlessness
Space Telescope reveals an unexpected world of mirrors, colours, lights, seashells, and beautiful reflections. The kaleidoscopic installation is inspired from a former light house project by the architects - Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse (2016) - from Denmark. The installation draws from the experience of the sand swept landscape of the lighthouse that magically transforms, as a kaleidoscope stretching 20 meters into the air pull reflections of the building’s skylight into its narrow interiors.
Space Telescope appears as a slender and tectonic object in a landscape of seashells, while its inner space emulates a magical universe of light, reflections, and colours. It orchestrates the experience of the gallery’s skylights using mirrors that spread one’s reflections indefinitely on a blanket of white shells, creating a meditative moment.
2. In the world of an architect | Reiulf Ramstad Architects
Exploring Nordic architecture
The Norwegian firm brings a series of spatial installations that reassess the term ‘Nordic architecture’ and focus on design created in the tension field between local and global.
The exhibition is organised as a wandering through five rooms, of which three rooms are 1:1 works, reflecting different aspects of Reiulf Ramstad Architects' (RRA) approach to architecture.
The first room has an organic form of an embryo that illustrates the studio at the 'cell stage'. The space invites people to delve into the diversity of ideas by the firm and the inception of various projects through the medium of sketches and models. The second room, titled ‘The Bedrock’ has black walls, a projection of waterfalls and a base of rocks and mirrors that connect with the landscape, urgency and moderation of RRA’s works.
Further into the space, the third installation appears as a ‘green mirror room’ full of plants with models of projects carefully adapted to the landscape. A swing in the middle of the room invites people to play in the green area while also allowing them to reflect on the conceptual dimension of the firm’s practice. The fourth space is a tower room made of timber that utilises the gallery's generous height and invites children to climb up to its top and look out to the rest of the space. The fifth, called 'The Outro', brings extensive documentation of the various projects and insights from the studio founder, Reiulf Ramstad.
3. bee’otopia | Studio Poesis
Bees as gastronomes, pollinators, architects, craftsmen and lamp makers
The project investigates a natural design and production utopia, where design and production happen in a symbiotic relationship between designer and bees.
The bee’otopia by Aalborg-based designer Esben Bala Skouboe imagines 'another world where things are designed and build locally in nature with nature'. The project uses the creative power of nature’s own master builders, i.e. bees to create 3-D printed unique beeswax lampshades. The installation imagines a new way of consumption that probes ideas like ‘What if we can grow our design locally in a fruitful symbiosis with nature? Then, what would our factories look like? What would the waste be?’.
Describing the experience of the installation, Skouboe says, “We wanted the kids to begin to question how and where their things are made. In other parts of the exhibition, kids are crawling, shouting, swinging and sliding, but when they enter beeótopia, they become quiet. They crawl into the gigantic beehive and study the details in the hexagon structure and its light. It is evident that they are thinking.”
The installation not only facilitates dialogues to impart understanding on how these lampshades are made but also brings for visitors the sweet taste of honey, and an opportunity to harvest pollinated fruits and flowers.
4. Play Landscape | ADEPT
An activated landscape for freedom and play
Landscape is – quite literally – fundamental to architecture. But when architects refer to landscapes, it is not merely open spaces they are talking about. A building can easily be a landscape in itself, featuring slides, maze-like corridors and huge plants.
The work introduces a large, three-dimensional wooden structure that doubles as an activated landscape inviting people to explore the space with their whole bodies. The landscape comprising passages, cavities and hiding places, is ‘designed for disassembly’ using identical modules of wood. “The construction transcends the idea of inside and outside, between public and private space. It is a place of its own, a place that comes before building,” says the studio.
Paving the way for freedom and play, the fluid installation allows children to climb the wooden frames and glide via metal slides that are integrated within the framework.
Space Crazy is on view at the Utzon Center till February 23, 2020.