BMW AG’s latest undertaking, the BMW Guggenheim Lab, is starting a six-year odyssey that will see the innovative mobile structure take its unique mix of multi-disciplinary research and design talents around the world.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation has been promoting and popularizing the intersection of art and design science for almost 75 years. It is perhaps most famous for the internationally acclaimed museums that it curates in New York, Italy, Abu Dhabi, Spain and Germany. The decision to pair up with the BMW Group and create the first traveling design laboratory of its kind was a natural one, given the similar aims and highly respected reputations of the two organizations.
The concept is a bold one. Three separate BMW Guggenheim Labs will circle the globe at consecutive two-year intervals, each with its own theme and each the result of a different architect and graphic designer. The first BMW Guggenheim Lab, which has adopted a theme of Confronting Comfort: The City and You
, will make its first stop in North America in late summer 2011 before heading to one city each in Europe and Asia. At the end of each Lab’s two-year journey, a special exhibition summarizing the Lab’s achievements, solutions and discoveries will be unveiled at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, New York.
What are BMW and Guggenheim attempting to accomplish with the “Confronting Comfort” theme? The goal is to explore how urban environments can be more responsive to the needs of their inhabitants, how people can be more comfortable in urban environments and how to better balance the demands of a modern lifestyle with the need to achieve sustainable and green-friendly practices. The initial BMW Guggenheim Lab will see its architectural identity created by Atelier Bow-Wow (based in Tokyo, Japan). Sulki & Min of Seoul, South Korea will provide the Lab’s graphic design, which, in the words of its founders, will be “strong, responsive and playful.”
The structure itself will offer 5,000 square feet of educational programs, special events, gatherings and performances designed to help engage the communities surrounding the Lab, as well as help it integrate into its host city. The Lab will operate with guidance from an advisory committee, which will ensure that its roster is loaded with internationally recognized professionals who are known for making important contributions in the respective fields highlighted by the project.
The BMW Guggenheim Lab project is ambitious. Maria Nicanor, Assistant Curator of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum said, “The BMW Guggenheim Lab is an invaluable opportunity to bring together local communities with international experts and young talents from a wide variety of fields in order to redefine how we want to live in urban environments today and tomorrow.” BMW AG Board of Management member Frank-Peter Arndt added, “As a company, we are extremely interested in an open-minded and productive dialogue with numerous representatives from art and science.”
The BMW Guggenheim Lab initiative is poised to open up new perspectives and insights onto the human condition around the world, particularly the ways citizens interact with their cities and each other.
For more information about the BMW Guggenheim Lab, visit www.bmw.com/com/en/insights/explore/guggenheim/guggenheim.html and www.guggenheim.org/guggenheim-foundation/collaborations/bmw-guggenheim.