Regardless of their specific subject matter, architecture exhibitions also always address the question of whether they can replace the experience of architecture at all. Since architecture itself cannot be exhibited, with each exhibition a new answer must be found as to how architectural features can be transferred from reality to the artificiality of an exhibition space. This process of transformation is less a matter of knowledge transfer than the creation of atmospheres that ideally generate autonomous formats.
What is needed is a transformation of the idea across genres – which reflects exactly the approach taken by INNOCAD. The Graz-based architects see themselves not as a classical architecture firm, but as transdisciplinary designers. As such, they have developed an exhibition that breaks new ground for the gallery, which has often been a crucible for innovative approaches over the years. Under the title “Architectural Fashion,” they focus not on a factual representation of their projects, but on their underlying design principle as the basis for a multifaceted perspective. For this exhibition, they invited the young fashion designer Sabrina Stadlober to collaborate with INNOCAD’s design label 13&9 on clothes that interpret three of their projects in the fields of architecture, interior design, and product design.
The presentation of these works also unites various disciplines. Room-high mirror elements fracture the austere gallery space, enabling visitors to gain new perspectives from different standpoints – either as part of the exhibition or outside observer. Placed before each mirror is a mannequin, which is assigned a screen that presents the associated architectural project. The installation is complemented by a soundscape produced by Martin Lesjak and electronic music producer Severin Su. An individual audio track was developed for each of the featured architectural projects. The tracks audibly merge into a composition when there is sufficient distance between the visitor/listener and the individual project.
INNOCAD Architektur was founded in 1999 by Martin Lesjak and Peter Schwaiger. Since then, they have completed numerous projects of assorted size and scope. The firm is currently working on the general planning for the C+P headquarters in Graz, the interior design for Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Economy in Riyadh, and the Mohawk Group showroom in Chicago. In 2013, Martin Lesjak and designer Anastasia Su launched the design collective 13&9. The label has since created successful products in diverse fields, such as lighting, furniture, jewelry, fashion, and accessories. In 2015, Martin Lesjak was named “Designer of the Year” by the New York-based magazine Contract.