Robert Konieczny’s lecture in the Pavillon de l’Arsenal opened ‘Moving Architecture’ exhibition by KWK Promes at the Galerie d’Architecture in Paris. It presents the studio’s realisations containing mobile elements, thanks to which architecture can interfere with the space around it and create new relationships with its surroundings.
KWK Promes is a studio whose domain is conceptualism. Each design is supported by a strong idea which defines the solutions applied later. Such a way of designing, called the logic of space by the architects, allows them to free themselves from formal preferences and venture into the unknown, which can lead to innovative solutions.
However, when viewed from a critical distance, one can distinguish several themes that the architects develop in their subsequent designs: blurring the boundaries and stretching the architecture in space, the use of atmospheric phenomena to complement the buildings, deep references to the context, including the historical one, and the incorporation of movement in architecture. The motifs observed in KWK Promes’ designs have been dubbed project paths by the architects themselves.
At the exhibition entrance, there is a project paths map, presenting the links between individual designs of the studio. Those with common features lie on the same path. Those which combine several threads lie at the intersection of several paths. One of them project paths is the mobile path, which has become the main theme of the exhibition.
The main gallery space features KWK Promes’ buildings with moving elements, including Safe House (2008), Konieczny’s Ark (2015), the National Museum Centre for Dialogue Przełomy in Szczecin (2016), Quadrant House (2019) and the PLATO Gallery of Contemporary Art in Ostrava (under construction). In those designs movement is not just a gadget. On the contrary, it is always the result of deep reflection and can address a problem or several problems simultaneously, transforming buildings or integrating the space around them. In doing so, architecture becomes more adaptable to climate change.
The name of the exhibition ‘Moving Architecture’ does not refer only to architecture, but also to the relationship that visitors to the gallery enter into with the objects depicted on the still posters. They have been made using lenticular printing technology, which means that the moving elements begin to move at the moment when the visitor changes their point of observation.
When we enter the Gallery, the first thing we notice is people moving in an unusual way. We don’t yet know what exactly is going on, so it evokes a feeling of surprise. Only after a while do we realise that when we change the angle of our gaze we can see the movement recorded in the still images.
This is the first impression we get at the exhibition, but when we go deeper inside, we notice that the large-format illusionist paintings are slightly tilted away from the wall. On their sides, boards with further information about the exhibits have been arranged. The exhibition is thus multi-layered. Visitors discover it layer by layer, starting with the movement itself, through an understanding of what the space gains from it, to its most detailed elements.
The exhibition is complemented by a video displayed in the gallery space. As in the lecture, Robert Konieczny talks in it about the evolution of thinking by KWK Promes architects on the topic of mobility in architecture. He begins with the Safe House, which at first glance may be associated with closure, but which ultimately led to buildings which open up to their surroundings in an increasingly non-standard way, blurring the barrier between inside and outside. The story ends with the PLATO Contemporary Art Gallery, where artists can take their art directly into the space around the building, which gives art a chance to become more democratic.
The exhibition ‘Moving Architecture’ remains on view at Galerie d’Architecture until 15 January 2022.