Dornbirn, Austria – On 29 September 2022, the Zumtobel Group and UNStudio hosted an evening event at the Dornbirn Light Forum for the opening of the exhibition, followed by a roundtable talk on this year’s artistic annual report of the Zumtobel Group, designed by UNStudio, Ben van Berkel; in collaboration with the graphic design duo Bloemendaal & Dekkers a visual reflection on the topic of transformation in architecture and the built environment was created for this report. The 31st edition, entitled “Transform”, shows the creative processes of the work of UNStudio over the last three decades.
The temporary exhibition designed in this context at the Zumtobel Group’s Dornbirn Light Forum includes an immersive interpretation of the topics analysed in the annual report and is staged applying Zumtobel’s lighting technology. Light and different gradients are used for the framed works of art applied on an ultralight fabric to give the viewer an impressive experience. The light frames floating in space offset from one another and their translucence allow the light colours of the individual images to mix. Depending on the combination of colour and gradient lighting, graphics and text appear or disappear, and appear either complementary or identical. These varying light and colour scenarios give the viewer the feeling of being immersed in the design processes of UNStudio. Visitors are explicitly requested to move through the light images, creating an additional transformation of the scene, which is visible thanks to the above-mentioned translucence.
Reflecting the central topic of transformation, Alexander Gutzmer, author and Head of the Center for Corporate Architecture at the Quadriga University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, moderated the panel consisting of Ben van Berkel, UNStudio, Ines Goldbach, Director Kunsthalle Baselland, and artist Cendra Polsner. In addition to their personal impressions of the design of the annual report, the guests reflected on the role of architecture in the current transformation of cities and society. The discussion put a special focus on the mutual stimulation of architecture and art. Especially in times when architects are faced with great demands, they could be inspired by the artistic perspective of their own work, the panel agreed.
UNStudio believes in architecture that provides powerful new experiences. The practice derives such experiences from conceptual models and theoretical ideas from which architectural systems are developed: integrated systems where the experience, geometry and functionality of the building merge and become fully synthesised. ‘Transform’ is a spatial interpretation of such system thinking. Here, the mathematical Fibonacci sequence is employed as an organisational model. This unique sequence, which is frequently observed in natural forms and phenomena, is used to enable an immersive ‘mindscape’ and layering of images; a variety of altering visual connections that allude to both the creative process and the underlying DNA that can be found in the work of the studio.
UNStudio, Ben van Berkel studied architecture at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and at the Architectural Association in London, receiving the AA Diploma with Honours in 1987. Founded by Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos in Amsterdam in 1988, UNStudio, is one of the internationally leading Dutch architecture offices and is considered a representative of progressive architecture. UNStudio consistently approaches design with the future in mind and develops strategies anticipating the future. unstudio.com
Ines Goldbach is an art historian, who wrote her dissertation on the artist Jannis Kounellis and Arte Povera. She worked as a curator at the Hallen für Neue Kunst museum in Schaffhausen for the Raussmüller Collection for many years and has been the director of Kunsthaus Baselland for several years. Here she offers young and established contemporary artists an important platform with exhibition projects. kunsthausbaselland.com
Cendra Polsner studied liberal arts, stage design and scenography as well as philosophy in Munich, London and Eichstätt. In her artistic work she prefers an installation, audio-visual environment, always based on considerations of transformation processes of information. In the commercial segment she specialises in scenographic event design with light, video and interactive installations. Her client references include Siemens, Vattenfall, Audi and ABB. cendrapolsner.de
Alexander Gutzmer has been a Professor of Media and Communication at Quadriga University since 2013. Following his PhD in Philosophy from Goldsmiths College, University of London, and a business degree from FU Berlin, he also worked as Editorial Director at Callwey-Verlag in Munich for ten years, where he was responsible for the architecture magazine Baumeister and for Topos, an English-language magazine for urban design and urban development. He started his career as a journalist with the Welt am Sonntag newspaper. Gutzmer is currently establishing the new Center for Corporate Architecture and Spatial Identity at the Quadriga University of Applied Sciences Berlin. quadriga-hochschule.com
Exhibition at the Zumtobel Group Light Forum in Dornbirn – from 29 September to mid-December 2022.
Photo Copywright: Arno Meusburger