The idea of making Architecture move is nothing new. In 1988, The Museum of Modern Art in New York showcased the Deconstructivist Architecture exhibition organised by Philip Johnson and Mark Wigley. The exhibition captured the conscience and memory of the time and ran in sync with the opening of the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, USA. Designed by Peter Eisenman – this is perhaps one of the most underrated buildings of the late 20th Century. Historically we have the Baroque masterpieces such as La cupola di San Carlino by Borromini, who’s flamboyant expression of form and manipulation of light challenged Architectures very essence: In De architectura libri decem, written in the first century, Vitruvius emphasises not only should Architecture stand up, but it should look like it stands up.
It is in this context that we found the point of departure for our recently completed project at 100% Design in Earls Court, London where we were invited to design this years office feature. Our installation The Hanging Room, was essentially an Architecture that reconfigured itself into four different states. The site was a 10x10m pitch within Earls Court. Creating a grid within the site, and using partitions made from timber and translucent fabric we rigged all these components allowing us to program several different configurations across multiple levels. Going through transition every hour throughout the day, the result was a series of ephemeral volumes and spatial conditions that provided a variation of functions: Lecture & cinema, Lounge, Cafe & Champagne Reception.
In many ways the installation was a sensual representation of how our working environments are changing. Increasingly we are seeing a search for an environment that can actually be changed and modified by it’s users, essentially an architecture of improvisation and flux, always in beta. As a consequence of a cultural change in how we work, comes a transition in how we use buildings and design new ones. However in this context the project has the speculative qualities to suggest a practical usage, reinterpreting with new technologies how the generic nature of the office building can transform both working culture and the broader issue of the twenty-first century city.