SOURCE: BMW Guggenheim Lab

BMW Guggenheim Lab

May 06, 2011 09:30 ET

BMW Guggenheim Lab to Launch in New York City on August 3, Before Traveling to Berlin and Asia

Six-Year Collaboration to Examine Contemporary Urban Issues in Nine Cities Around the World -- International Advisory Committee Selects New York BMW Guggenheim Lab Team -- Design of First Mobile Laboratory Unveiled

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - May 6, 2011) - Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, and Jim O'Donnell, President and CEO, BMW North America, LLC, announced today that the BMW Guggenheim Lab will launch in New York City from August 3 to October 16. Following New York, the BMW Guggenheim Lab will travel to Berlin in spring/summer 2012, and to a city in Asia to be announced later this year. Conceived as an urban think tank and mobile laboratory, the BMW Guggenheim Lab will explore issues confronting contemporary cities and provide a public place and online forum for sharing ideas and practical solutions. The BMW Guggenheim Lab and all of its programming will be free to the public. The new website ( and online communities will create and extend the opportunity to participate in this multidisciplinary urban experiment worldwide.

Over the six-year migration of the BMW Guggenheim Lab, there will be three different themes and three distinct mobile structures, each designed by a different architect and each traveling to three cities around the world. Launching in New York, the first BMW Guggenheim Lab structure will be a compact temporary facility of approximately 2,500 square feet, located on the border between Manhattan's Lower East Side and East Village, at 33 East First Street (between First and Second Avenues). Designed by Atelier Bow-Wow, an architecture studio in Tokyo, the mobile structure will easily fit into densely built neighborhoods and be transported from city to city.

The first cycle will conclude with a special exhibition presented at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2013, which will explore the ideas and solutions that were addressed at the BMW Guggenheim Lab's different venues. The two remaining two-year cycles will be announced at a later date.

The theme for the first three-city cycle is Confronting Comfort, an exploration of how urban environments can be made more responsive to people's needs, how a balance can be found between modern notions of individual versus collective comfort, and the urgent need for environmental and social responsibility.

The BMW Guggenheim Lab is curated by David van der Leer, Assistant Curator, Architecture and Urban Studies, and Maria Nicanor, Assistant Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

An international Advisory Committee has nominated the New York BMW Guggenheim Lab Team (BGL Team), an innovative group of emerging talents in their fields, who will create the roster of programming that will be presented in New York.

The Advisory Committee for the first cycle of the BMW Guggenheim Lab, composed of experts from various disciplines, includes Daniel Barenboim (Conductor and Pianist, Argentina), Elizabeth Diller (Designer, USA), Nicholas Humphrey (Theoretical Psychologist, UK), Muchadeyi Ashton Masunda (Mayor of Harare, Zimbabwe), Enrique Peñalosa (Former Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia), Juliet Schor (Economist and Professor of Sociology, USA), Rirkrit Tiravanija (Artist, Thailand), and Wang Shi (Entrepreneur, China). The Advisory Committee is charged with nominating candidates for the BGL Team for each of the three cities of the first cycle, as well as providing their own ideas relating to the theme and consulting with members of the BGL Team.

The New York BGL Team consists of Omar Freilla, a Bronx, New York-based environmental justice activist, cooperative developer, and founder and coordinator of Green Worker Cooperatives; Canadian journalist and urban experimentalist Charles Montgomery, an advocate for sustainability and well-being; Nigerian microbiologist, inventor and 2010 TEDGlobal Fellow Olatunbosun Obayomi; and architects and urbanists Elma van Boxel and Kristian Koreman of the Rotterdam-based architecture studio ZUS [Zones Urbaines Sensibles]. Video interviews with each of the BGL Team members can be viewed at

The BGL Team will design public programs, experiments, and an installation exploring how interventions and innovations that decentralize, decelerate, localize, and democratize New Yorkers can reinvent the urban experience, creating a more adaptable and sustainable version of comfort. The BMW Guggenheim Lab is conceived to spark visitor curiosity and interaction, and audiences will be encouraged to participate and contribute to the answers, ideas, and stories generated inside. Programming will include unconventional tours exploring the urban fabric, hands-on experiments and how-to workshops, film screenings, and community-based discussions.

The graphic identity of the BMW Guggenheim Lab, which includes an interactive logo created by graphic designers Sulki & Min, from Seoul, South Korea, was unveiled today. Unlike traditional static logos, Sulki & Min's design will grow and change through audience interaction on over the course of the BMW Guggenheim Lab's first two-year cycle. Reflecting the role of the BMW Guggenheim Lab as a space for the exchange of ideas, the logo will become the metaphorical and virtual representation of worldwide interaction with the theme of Confronting Comfort and the larger discourse about cities and urban life. The online dialogue will be extended through dedicated BMW Guggenheim Lab social media channels, including Twitter (, Facebook (, YouTube (, Flickr (, and FourSquare (

With a skeleton built of carbon fiber, the lightweight and compact BMW Guggenheim Lab has been designed by Atelier Bow-Wow as a "traveling toolbox." The lower half of the structure, a present-day version of a Mediterranean loggia, will be open at most times. Its configuration will change throughout the run of the BMW Guggenheim Lab to meet the needs of programs developed by the BGL Team. The cross-pollination and user interaction integral to the BMW Guggenheim Lab's programs will find their counterpart in the upper part of the structure, which houses a rigging system and is wrapped in a semitransparent mesh that allows views inside. A series of smaller wooden structures placed in proximity to the main structure will provide space for restrooms and a cafe. After the BMW Guggenheim Lab departs for Berlin, the improvements made to the currently vacant lot in New York City will remain, allowing a formerly unusable city space to become an accessible public park. A video of Atelier Bow-Wow's architectural rendering of the BMW Guggenheim Lab structure can be viewed at

The BMW Guggenheim Lab is a collaboration between BMW AG and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

Join the conversation on Twitter with @BMWGuggLab and use hashtag #BGLab.

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Contact Information

  • Contacts:

    Betsy Ennis/Lauren Van Natten
    Guggenheim Museum
    212 423 3840
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    Melissa Parsoff
    Ruder Finn
    212 593 5889
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    Thomas Girst
    BMW Group
    +49 160 905 22122
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