The Living and SOFTlab have created an iconic exhibition design and interactive project that engages the exhibition themes. The design involves a “cloud” suspended from the ceiling that envelops the various works of art under a common roof and at the same time allows for each work to have a customized identity and experience. The cloud creates captivating views from above and from within. The interactive project involves lighting embedded in the cloud that will glow and blink according to real-time public awareness and public participation in the exhibition.
SOFTlab is a design studio based in New York City. The studio was created by Michael Szivos shortly after receiving a graduate degree in architecture from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University. The studio has since been involved in the design and production of projects across almost every medium, from digitally fabricated large-scale sculpture, to interactive design, to immersive digital video installations. The constraints and overlaps of each of these projects are treated as opportunities that are tested through a collaborative studio environment with the hopes of solving typical problems in new ways, with new tools. By mixing research, creativity and technology with a strong desire to make working fun, SOFTlab attempts to create new and unique experiences.
In 2012 SOFTlab was awarded the Architectural League Prize for Young Architects and in 2010 the studio was selected for the New Practices New York award by the AIA Chapter of New York along with 7 other young studios. The studio has collaborated with and produced a wide range of design projects for various artists, designers, publications and institutions including MoMA, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The New York Times, New York Hall of Science, The Architectural League, Columbia University and Pratt Institute. The studio has also exhibited work in galleries throughout New York City and Europe.
The Living creates full-scale, functioning prototypes of the architecture of the future. Clients and collaborators include Nike, Airbus, the City of New York, Seoul Municipal Government, Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology, and Build It Green (a material salvage non-profit organization). Recent projects include Living City (a platform for buildings to talk to one another), Amphibious Architecture (a cloud of light above the East River that changes color according to water quality), and Architecture Bio-synthesis (a new process for bacterial manufacturing of high-performance building materials through synthetic biology).
Work by the firm has won the Young Architects Prize from the Architectural League (U.S.), the New Practices Award from the American Institute of Architects, the Architect Magazine R+D Award, an Ars Electronica Award (Austria), the FILE Prix Lux (Brazil), and a Future Everything Prize (U.K.). It has been featured at the Chicago Museum of Science, Copenhagen’s Innovation Lab, Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology, the New York Hall of Science, the Hong Kong Shenzhen Biennale, the Gwnangju Biennale, and the Venice Biennale. It is also part of the permanent collection of the Nevada Museum of Art.
David Benjamin is Founder and Principal of The Living and Director of the Living Architecture Lab at Columbia University.