Space Popular unfold an immersive installation exploring the role of architecture, and architects, in the design of virtual worlds.

Value in the Virtual presents a vision of the latent potential of spatial design in and for virtual environments. Shaped by the practice and conceptual lens of Lara Lesmes and Fredrik Hellberg, creative directors of the London-based architecture studio Space Popular, this installation articulates a direction for architecture which interfaces with cognitive science, colour theory, and the spectacular possibilities laid before us at the dawn of an imminent, immersive virtual reality.

Taking the form of two simultaneously active environments, one physical and one virtual, experience full-scale fragments of Stockholm dissolve, mutate, distort and replicate and envision a constellation of possible futures in which material values are radically recast.

With Value in the Virtual, Boxen becomes a shared space and testing ground for discussion about the role of architecture, and of the architect, in the virtual sphere. During and beyond the exhibition a virtual layer of Boxen will be able to be visited in Sansar – a social virtual reality platform accessible by anyone, anywhere, anytime.

Experience the exhibition in VR

Parallel to the physical space in Boxen, the exhibition also has a virtual experience that can be experienced through the social virtual reality platform Sansar →

Events

You Are a Citizen of Virtual Worlds
Mark Wigley and Space Popular on Science Fiction and Architecture

 

Curator: James Taylor-Foster
Special Advisor: William Hamilton
Assistants: Ludvig Holmen, Daniel Tayar-Watson
Graphic Identity: Studio Reko
Project team at ArkDes: Madeléne Beckman, Markus Eberle, Daniel Golling, Jakob Kjellberg, Stefan Mossfeldt, Sandra Nolgren, Elisabet Schön, Halla Sigurðardottir, Maria Östman, Eva-Lisa Saksi

Space Popular

Lara Lesmes (Spain) and Fredrik Hellberg (Sweden), both graduates from the Architectural Association in London, founded Space Popular in Bangkok in 2013. Based in London since 2016, the practice works at multiple scales: from furniture and interior design to architecture, urbanism, and the design of virtual worlds. The duo have extensive teaching experience at INDA (Bangkok) and the Architectural Association and have lectured and participated as visiting critics internationally. Beyond their academic experience, Space Popular has ongoing and realised built projects and exhibitions in Europe and Asia.

Space Popular →

Visit the exhibition in VR A virtual version of this exhibition is available to experience with a headset through Sansar → Exhibition Booklet Read the exhibition guide → Reading List Download the reading list → Exhibition Poster Download the poster → Reflecting on Value in the Virtualan interview with Space Popular (2021) →The exhibition wants to look at what is going on while augmented reality is still in its infancy and to figure out the consequences of the tech before it is sitting on everyone’s face. Björn Ehrlemark in Architect's Newspaper Virtual Reality will help to create revolutionary opportunities for all industries but it will also pose challenges. [...] 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. Giovanni Comoglio in Domus What will it mean for public spaces to exist on physical and virtual planes? How does a public space change when it can be occupied by individuals IRL and via URL? Value in the Virtual is the first step in bringing these questions and others to a broader, more serious debate within the world of architecture and beyond—where previously it has appeared as gimmicky or a fad. George Kafka in Metropolis This installation at ArkDes in Stockholm in 2018 was Space Popular's first exploration of how physical and virtual architecture can be overlaid. [...] "It's a very large thesis on the coming of the virtual and what that will mean for architecture," said Lara Lesmes. Amy Frearson in Dezeen Space Popular’s giddy optimism about a more democratic, connected, VR-enabled future underlies all of its investigations into a new virtual world, but it’s also under – pinned by a serious sense of responsibility. Alice Bucknell in Metropolis (2020)  →

Images from the exhibition

Space Popular - Lara Lesmes och Carl Fredrik Valdemar Hellberg.
Lara Lesmes and Fredrik Hellberg (Space Popular). Photo: Jonas Malmström
Space Popular: Värde i det virtuella
Photo: Jeanette Hägglund
Space Popular: Värde i det virtuella
Photo: Jeanette Hägglund
Space Popular: Värde i det virtuella
Photo: Jeanette Hägglund
Space Popular: Värde i det virtuella
Photo: Jeanette Hägglund
Detalj från utställningen Space Popular: Värde i det virtuella
The Home (an ordinary home). Image: Space Popular
Detalj från utställningen Space Popular: Värde i det virtuella
The Civic Hall (The Golden Hall, Stockholm City Hall). Image: Space Popular
Detalj från utställningen Space Popular: Värde i det virtuella
The Platform (Östermalmstorg Subway Station). Image: Space Popular
Space Popular: Värde i det virtuella
The Square (Stureplan, Stockholm). Image: Space Popular
Detalj från utställningen Space Popular: Värde i det virtuella
The Park (The Blue Gate, Djurgården). Image: Space Popular
Detalj från utställningen Space Popular: Värde i det virtuella
The Café (Café Blanc). Image: Space Popular
Gruppbild med Lara Lesmes, Fredrik Hellberg, Kieran Long och James Taylor Foster.
From left: Lara Lesmes and Fredrik Hellberg (Space Popular), Kieran Long (Director, ArkDes) James Taylor-Foster (Curator). Photo: Viktoria Spasova