Client: Suum Projects
Location: 180 The Strand
Brief: The brief for this project fell into two parts; to transform the subterranean car park space within 180 The Strand into a gallery, and then to turn the gallery into a mesmerising show of immersive, large scale digital installations.
Curated by SUUM in collaboration with Fact and 180 Studios, with Graphics by Kellenberg-White; LUX brings together 12 of the most celebrated digital artists (including Es Devlin, Hito Steyerl, Julian Knxx, Refik Anadol, Carsten Nicolai, a’strict, Cao Yuxi, Cecilia Bengolea and Universal Everything) to expand the boundaries of immersive art, blurring the lines between the physical and virtual worlds.
While the raw brutalist environment of 180 The Strand provided a unique contextual landscape for the media art pieces, it was essential that the exhibition’s design work to enable viewers to form an intimate connection with the content within its cavernous chambers.
To achieve this the design looked to celebrate the archaeological qualities of its subterranean space, revealing the scars of its past. To create clarity through contrast we inserted a collection of interventions designed to provoke a meaningful juxtaposition between the futurist brilliance and radical precision of the artworks, and the industrial tactility of the gallery.
To minimise waste, we developed a deconstructed aesthetic, via a network of adaptable, dry-fix display mechanisms. Consistent use of versatile, re-useable materials such as dry-line timber panels backed by reflective silver insulation and absorbent double lined felt, created a design language that positioned the dynamic artworks within a cohesive narrative, while theatrical staging celebrated their individual merits.
Separated from each other by rich red, fabric curtains for dramatic revelation, each piece was sensitively placed within a bespoke microcosm, tailored to maximise its sensorial impact. The double lined felt was a deep red on the outside – to standout proudly against the dimly lit concrete of the site and the dazzle of the media works – and black on the inside – to fall away – leaving the artwork to consume the viewers whole field of vision. It had the additional benefit of filtering sound, allowing only enough leakage to create tantalising hints that pique interest, drawing the viewer through the space.
Supported by the demountable timber structure where required, these heavy curtains created a series of immersive worlds within worlds that bring the viewer into focused engagement with the artworks, creating moments of intimacy within the industrial scale and public environment of the gallery.