★★★★ – The Telegraph
‘Inspiring’ – London Evening Standard
‘Epic’ – Wired
‘Enchanting’ – The Independent
‘Era-defining’ – Architects’ Journal
’One of the most exciting exhibitions of 2014′ – Time Out
In Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined, we see some of the most creative architectural minds from around the world (none of which are British) coming together in the Royal Academy, encouraging us to look at architecture from a new perspective and transforming the Main Galleries with a series of large-scale installations.
The show’s curator, Kate Goodwin’s obviously makes a pretty accurate description of the exhibition, which goes as follows: ‘As you respond to different structures, textures, lighting, scents and colours, we invite you to consider some of the big questions about the nature of architecture; how do spaces make us feel? What does architecture do for our lives? You are as much a part of this exhibition as the work itself – invited to touch, climb, walk, talk, sit, contemplate – re-imagine the world around you.’
Essentially, the exhibition is primarily concerned with the ability and power of architecture to shape- perhaps even command- our emotions and to stimulate our senses. The mood of the viewer changes drastically as you move from room to room. Yet, we are never subjected to a space or form that encourages feelings of angst, despair or claustrophobia, but rather continually oscillating feelings of harmony, peace and the ability to appreciate clarity of mind that a particular situation can inspire.
Perhaps this is partially due to the personal input in the structures from the architects themselves. For example, Japanese architect Kengo Kuma associates the smell of the wooden house where he grew up with happiness. Thus, through a pair of thick black curtains, Kuma fills two rooms of the RA with delicate bamboo structures, which are infused with the scent of Japanese cypress wood, or hinoki, so that we are metaphysically spirited away to a gentler and more exotic world.
Indeed, all of the installations in the exhibition appear to challenge the conventions of architecture, giving it a break from its more functional demands, which often ultimately lead to mundanely uninspiring environments. Instead this inspiring and engaging show, which I highly recommend visiting, acts as a timely reminder of the possibility for architecture to become enchanting.
Images from: http://www.royalacademy.org.uk
By Carinthia Pearson