Value in the virtual. Designing the unbuilt

An exhibition in Stockholm explores the responsibilities of architecture in the perspective of a future VR-based city

space popular - value in the virtual

As the reflection on the role of architects in shaping space and its social effects keeps evolving —striding through the decades in the appearance of an emotional rollercoaster for the entire category — its trajectory comes across new articulations of the connection between society and technology. In past years architects have been able to express themselves both in real and virtual worlds, by creating environments for videogames and developing VR devices. Still a new step in the evolution is approaching: what could happen to the built environment when architecture, and architects, will  no longer be required to take assumed natural limits into account?

In “Value in the Virtual”, currently on show at Boxen at ArkDes, London-based architecture studio Space Popular unfolds an immersive installation exploring the action of architecture, and architects, in the design of virtual worlds. Lara Lesmes and Fredrik Hellberg offer a glimpse to a future in which our experience of everyday life, our homes, and our cities will be radically transformed. Without the need to consider the effects of gravity, light, or material properties, the design of spatial environments becomes limited only by imagination: rooted in real environments that can be found in Stockholm, “Value in the Virtual” therefore explores shifting value systems in a future virtual "built" environment.

According to Space Popular, “…In the near future, we will live in several parallel virtual worlds simultaneously, together with our colleagues, friends, and family. Virtual Reality will help to create revolutionary opportunities for all industries but it will also pose challenges, not least of all to architects, urban planners, and designers who will no longer have total control over the design of built environments. This shift will fundamentally change architectural values—such as place, size, material, comfort, and aesthetics—which will, in turn, change the economy that drives urban development.”
A matter of responsibility — as stressed by curator James Taylor-Foster — that is accepted and explored by Space Popular by crossbreeding cognitive science, colour theory, and the possibilities of an immersive virtual reality into a re-located collective arena of debate on space-making.

Value in the Virtual
Space Popular
James Taylor-Foster
William Hamilton, Ludvig Holmen, Daniel Tayar-Watson, Studio Reko
Boxen at ArkDes
Slupskjulsvägen 7–9, Stockholm
Opening dates:
19 September – 18 November 2018

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