UNStudio / Ben van Berkel’s Motion Matters exhibition opens at the MAXXI Museum in Rome

On Friday 6th Dec the third edition of UNStudio’s Motion Matters exhibition opened at the MAXXI Museum in Rome. After successful installations at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 2011 and at Aedes in Berlin this Summer, this site-specific exhibition concept has been tailor designed and realised for Gallery 2 of the MAXXI Museum. UNStudio’s installation brings to a close the ‘Nature’ cycle in which MAXXI has been experimenting with a different approach to monographic exhibitions.

UNStudio’s site specific installation involves the public in a dynamic debate. The exhibition is a response to the traditional architectural exhibition in which rescaled representations of architectural designs are presented. In the Motion Matters installation the object exhibited is not in a display case, or merely an object to be looked at, but instead interacts with the visitor and requires their active participation. The exhibition investigates the ways in which movement, spatial considerations and perspective inform space and how the visitor physically experiences the effects of these three determinant architectural parameters.

For many years UNStudio has been investigating the potential of the temporary installation as an experimental testing ground for manifold architectural concerns and it is these investigations that form the basis of the exhibition Motion Matters. The concept for the Motion Matters installation has recently been nominated for the International Space Design Award (Shenzhen, China) in the category ‘Exhibitions’.

Ben van Berkel commented:

“When we talk of ‘motion’ within architecture we not only refer to buildings and their potential effects, but also to shifts, or twists in the whole, integrated practice of the profession; we talk of the mobile forces which engender change and where the future of architecture may lie. ‘Motion’ therefore also encapsulates the past, the present and the possible future of the profession.”

The effects of situation, light, colour, and material on viewer perception are tested in this spatial installation of shifting perspectives. Within a trajectory of transitional spaces, optical illusions and trompe l’oeil effects are brought to contemporary structures, generating an experience that negotiates the ideal and the relational.

The exhibition presents ten of UNStudio’s milestone projects. At an almost 1:1 scale the visitor can, as it were, step into the projects on display: these include the Burnham Pavilion (Millenium Park, Chicago, USA), the Ponte Parodi Harbour development (Genoa – Italy), the Theatre Agora (Lelystad, The Netherlands), the Galleria Centercity (Cheonan, Korea), Ardmore Residence (Singapore), the MUMUTH Music Theatre (Graz, Austria), the Holiday Home (ICA, Philadelphia, USA), the Education Executive Agency & Tax Offices (Groningen, The Netherlands), the Haus am Weinberg (Stuttgart, Germany), and the Mercedes-Benz Museum (Stuttgart, Germany).

In addition to the primary focus on these key projects, a more detailed view is generated by means of five thematic threads which bind the projects together along a three-dimensional ribbon which meanders through the exhibition space. These threads consist of numerous small images which afford the reading of the various relationships between the exhibited projects within a larger context of inspiration, debate and realisation processes and provide insight into the knowledge driven nature of UNStudio’s practice.