Berlin experimental art and architecture practice launches King's Cross' annual winter installation

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Berlin experimental art and architecture practice launches King's Cross' annual winter installation
Granary Square installation by raumlabor in King's Cross (3). Pic credit John Sturrock

LONDON.- King’s Cross recently announced the latest in its Granary Square winter installation series - "elsewhere: a place to think about the world" by Berlin-based, experimental art and architecture practice, raumlabor.

Since this past November 21st until the end of February 2023, raumlabor’s totemic structure has become a new focal point for this popular London space, manipulating light and air and inviting audiences to reimagine their shared surroundings.

Providing an outside environment to sit and spend time in company, "elsewhere" is a space to contemplate both the beauty and complexity of the world and consider new ways of working together to ignite change.

The 33-foot high structure uses a set of imaginative tools to help people understand their immediate surroundings and their place in the wider world: at its core a ‘dream machine’ creates a flickering light that forms kaleidoscopic patterns to stimulate the imagination; flags, animated by the wind, replicate heat maps that demonstrate our changing planet and deep water; and a red sphere slowly pulsates through the middle of the structure acting as a real-time manifestation of time spent together.

A continuous message that reads LEARNING FROM EXPERIMENTS IN COLLECTIVE MANAGEMENT OF RESOURCES plays on a loop around the top of the structure.

"elsewhere" forms part of a series of winter installations and festive trees commissioned by King’s Cross as part of its ongoing commitment to art and culture in the neighbourhood. It has previously collaborated with acclaimed artists including Liliane Lijn (Temenos, 2021), architect Sam Jacobs (Electric Nemeton Tree, 2020), David Batchelor (King’s Xmas 2019) and Tatham & O’Sullivan (DOES THE ITERATIVE FIT? 2018).

Anthea Harries, Asset Management Director at Argent, said: “Each year we are inspired by the creativity and originality of our artists and designers and raumlabor’s "elsewhere: a place to think about the world" is no exception. In a time of uncertainty, "elsewhere" invites us to pause and reflect and consider how we can collectively inspire change. The new winter installation is part of our ongoing commitment to providing art and culture for the local community.”

"elsewhere" is the brainchild of Markus Bader and Luka Murovec from raumlaborberlin.

About the King’s Cross winter installation
Early in the development of King’s Cross, Granary Square became the central location for an innovative, annual Christmas tree installation. Since then, the King’s Cross Christmas tree has evolved into a winter installation in recognition of the diversity of the neighbourhood’s diverse local communities. It is in situ from late November until late February each year.

Working in between the fields of architecture and public art, raumlabor, whose name means ‘space laboratory’, create projects based around events, performance and theatre. raumlabor is a group of architects based in Berlin, who came together in 1999 in response to the rapid and unrestrained development of the city following the fall of the Berlin wall. Their playful approach critiques this dominant mode of architectural production, proposing instead temporary projects that transform the urban landscape through what they call ‘urban prototypes’. This approach is not only used to critique official planning processes but also to influence them.

Collaboration is a key part of their strategy with specialists including engineers, sociologists, local experts, ethnographers and citizens being brought together around specific projects. Their projects try to open up a space of communication and negotiation in which relations can be made and conflicts played out, and they acknowledge that for them architecture is first and foremost a social phenomenon.

Recent prizes include:
2022 Rolandpreis für Kunst im öffentlichen Raum (Roland Award for Art in Public Space)
2021 Golden Lion – 17th Biennale di Architettura Venezia – How will we live together?
2021 Berlin Award, Category of Repurposed Places for Floating University
2018 Global Award for Sustainable Architecture
2017 Curry Stone Design Prize
2016 Berlin Award, Home in a Foreign Land, Housing category for the Haus der Statistik project, Berlin

Recent exhibitions include:
Forms of Assembly, Centre Pomidiou, Paris, 2022; Open Space. Nichts Als Zukunft, K20, Dusseldorf, Germany, 2021; 17th Venice Architecture Biennale, 2021; Haus der Statistik, Berlin, 2015 – 2020; 11th Sao Paolo Architecture Biennial, 2017; Scenes for a New Heritage: Temporary Art from the Collection, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2015.

King’s Cross
King’s Cross is home to 67 acres of outstanding architecture, destination restaurants and a vibrant cultural scene. At its heart is the Heatherwick Studio-designed Coal Drops Yard; London’s newest shopping district housed in a pair of artfully reimagined industrial Victorian buildings. The area’s industrial past has inspired the 50 new and repurposed buildings, which are surrounded by beautifully designed green spaces and public areas, including Granary Square and its iconic fountains. This bustling creative neighbourhood is a lively place in central London to visit day and night and has a deserved reputation as a culinary hot spot.

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