The End of Sitting

We have been writing, indirectly, about the beautiful space at the Looiersgracht 60 in Amsterdam, which is a new project space for contemporary art, design and architecture, when they first opened their doors for De Gevonden op Marktplaats Salon earlier this year. The last few weeks the space has been hosting another incredible project named ‘The End of Sitting’, which closed last weekend. The project is an installation at the crossroads of visual art, architecture, philosophy and empirical science. In our society almost the entirety of our surroundings have been designed for sitting, while evidence from medical research suggests that too much sitting has adverse health effects. RAAAF [Rietveld Architecture-Art Affordances] and visual artist Barbara Visser have developed a concept wherein the chair and desk are no longer unquestionable starting points. Instead, the installation’s various affordances solicit visitors to explore different standing positions in an experimental work landscape. The project marks the beginning of an experimental trial phase, exploring the possibilities of radical change for the working environment, reminding of the aesthetic of fashion designer Rick Owens and  the work of architect Daniel Libeskind.

RAAAF operates at the crossroads of architecture, art and science and was founded by architect Ronald Rietveld and philosopher Erik Rietveld in 2006. The studio makes site-specific work and has developed the design approach of ‘strategic interventions’, which derives from the respective backgrounds of the founding partners. Besides them, the core design team consists of architect Arna Mackic. Design research by varying multidisciplinary teams consisting of scientists and other specialists leads to clear concepts, evocative visualizations, and novel horizons. A striking example of this is the installation ‘Vacant NL’, the Dutch contribution to the Venice Architecture Biennale 2010, in which the potential of 10.000 governmentally- owned vacant buildings was shown and that now is central in the discussions concerning innovative re-use. Another example is the cut-through monument Bunker 599, which unorthodoxly questions the Dutch and UNESCO policies on cultural heritage.

RAAAF’s work has been published world-wide and exhibited at leading art- and architecture biennales such as those of São Paulo, Istanbul and Venice. The studio has won several prestigious awards, including the Prix de Rome Architecture 2006, the Rotterdam Design Prize 2011, the Architectural Review Award 2013 and a VIDI-award of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). In 2013 RAAAF earned the title of New Radical and Dutch Architect of the Year. The various juries emphasize the ability of the studio to cross and stretch the disciplinary borders of architecture, science and art.

Photography Ricky Rijkenberg.

For more information see here.