Space Popular creates a kaleidoscopic glass construction to raise ideas around spatial perception


Ben Blossom

Multidisciplinary design and research practice Space Popular has unveiled ‘The Glass Chain’, an installation that explores an alternative future for glass in architecture at Sto’s Werkstatt gallery space in Clerkenwell, London.


‘The Glass Chain’ refers to the exchange of letters among a group of German architects, initiated by Bruno Taut, from 1919-1920, fantasising about the myriad possibilities for glass. Taut had created the Glass Pavilion for the German glass industry at the Werkbund Exhbition in Cologne in 1914, which exploited the reflective and prismatic qualities of glass. While using concrete in its structure, it featured a prismatic glass dome and glass brick walls with glass-treaded metal staircases flanking a stepped cascade of water. An upper projection room displayed a kaleidoscope of colour, the walls were of coloured glass mosaic and on the frieze of the pavilion were written lines such as ‘Coloured glass destroys hatred’, by the anarcho-socialist Paul Scheerbart.


The letters imagine fluid and organic glass follies and colourful crystal cathedrals covering entire mountain chains and even reaching into space, exploring a vision of glass that has not been realised to date. Glass has continued to be used as a peripheral material for windows and walls, whilst Taut believed that all architecture and even furniture could be made of glass.


Sto Werkstatt’s brief asked Space Popular to work with StoVentec Glass to redefine the limitations of the material and imagine its bright, colourful, and energising possibilities, encouraging the visualisation of a new purpose for glass in building design.

Almost one hundred years after Taut’s vision, having worked closely with Sto technical experts to realise a kaleidoscopic glass construction that uses glass to enhance, alter and question human perception of space, Space Popular’s installation explores different ranges of scale, playing with our visual perception of glass.


Fredrik Hellberg and Lara Lesmes, Co-Founders of Space Popular said; ‘We are grateful for this opportunity to contribute to the rich history of glass in architecture with our first work in the UK, and specially to do so at Sto Werkstatt following exhibitions by architects we admire. As part of a developing movement that is expanding on ideas of visual perception and environmental psychology in architecture, we are interested in design criteria that bridge virtual and physical realities.’

‘The Glass Chain’ is free and open to the public until 29 September 2017 at Sto Werkstatt in Woodbridge Street, Clerkenwell, London.

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