Fascinated by the interplay between storytelling and building, absurdity and speculation, Bureau Spectacular weave architectural design, representation, theory, criticism, history and taste into comic strips that pop from the page into the real world as installations and small buildings - from kinetic sculptures that simulate architecture in zero gravity, to proposals for an architectural park of building-animals. For his first solo exhibition outside of North America, Chicago-based Canadian architect Jimenez Lai’s Bureau Spectacular will transform the AF’s Project Space with an inhabitable installation and a graphic sequence of imaginary worlds, through the studio’s trademark mixture of built structure and cartoon.
Combining a wall painting, a specially commissioned graphic novel, and a three-part modular ‘home,’ the installation will present slices of life from inside Lai’s Cartoonish Metropolis. The three reconfigurable ‘rooms’ will explore the contemporary performance of living in public, by suggesting themselves as real-world frames from a comic strip. The rooms can face the street as a stage, or cluster together as a home, and will play out the relationship between spectacle and spectator in architecture and performance art, merging Hugh Hefner’s exhibitionism with Joseph Beuys’s conception of art as life, to explore the plural fantasies and realities that architecture can provoke and frame.
The installation can be thought of as an abstract hotel, with Lai himself calling it home over the London Festival of Architecture period, during which he will produce a mural over the walls of the Project Space to introduce further characters from the Cartoonish Metropolis to the gallery. Later in the exhibition a series of invited guests will take up residence in exchange for hosting a range of public events – from film-screenings to dinners, lectures to discos, workshops to art works. Keep an eye on the website for further details.
Founded by emerging architect Jimenez Lai in 2008, Bureau Spectacular is a studio of architectural affairs, who describe their strategy as one of making “absurd stories about fake realities that invite enticing possibilities”. Three Little Worlds follows the recent publication of Lai’s ground breaking graphic novel, Citizens of No Place (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012), and his award of the 2012 Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers.
Subtitled 'An Architectural Graphic Novel,' join us for conversation and drinks at the UK book launch for Jimenez Lai's architectural manifesto. In the midst of his AF installation, Lai will present his book and wider work, in conversation with Sam Jacob, FAT.
New York based graphic designer Critton holds a live research session, discussion and movie marathon for his forthcoming project, tentatively titled Sad People in Modernist Homes in Popular Films. Bring your own sleeping bag.
Celebrated architectural cartoonist and satirist Klaus Toons presents and exhibits his work within Three Little Worlds' alternate universe.
An award winning film documenting 'Warhol of the Web' Josh Harris' prescient millenial experiments into a life lived in public and mediated through technology, programmed in response to Three Little World's investigations into the performative potential of architecture.
Three Little Worlds hosts artist Rachel Pimm for a week-long residency, exploring living as performance and architecture as a stage set.
Rachel Pimm welcomes the public into her inhabitation of Three Little Worlds, with an evening performance exploring imaginary worlds and new forms of society, via a troupe of method-acting actors.
With special thanks to all those who donated to Jimenez Lai's Kickstarter campaign.
Fabrication courtesy of Joe Swift and Remi Stickland, R.A.R.A (Redundant Architects' Recreation Association)