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Anna R Lee

Where To

By Pamela Peeters

It was a sunny New York morning and I was pedalling my bike to a busy street corner in the East Village. A group of about 200 people – the eccentric international type – had gathered in an open space, whose purpose was to offer New Yorkers a think tank and a mobile laboratory. The design structures offered a mixed experience of a Southern French Riviera terrace experience and a futuristic car wash. Exquisite drip mocha, organic granola, crunchy croissants and other sweet treats were elegantly offered to the growing number of attendees.

Little folding chairs in explosive pastels seated a crowd of international journalists and VIP’s. I found one more available spot that seemed to have my name on it and looked around. On my left were two German journalists, the lady on my right came from Japan. I felt perfectly at home.

It was then that Richard Armstrong - Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation - and Jim O’Donnell, President and CEO, BMW North America, LLC, took over the floor and announced that the BMW Guggenheim Lab had launched that day ( August 3rd, 2011 ). The lab would remain open for the public until October 16 and would facilitate the exploration of issues that confront contemporary cities all while providing a public space and on-line forum for idea sharing and practical solutions.

The end of my visit culminated with a closing conversation with Richard Armstrong who informed me that over the course of ten weeks thousands of people would be expected to partake in over 100+ activities. These participants would be invited to think and talk about what it means to live in the city now, and what it might mean to live in a city of the future.

The Lab - designed by Atelier Bow-wow, an architecture studio in Tokyo - traveled to Berlin in the Spring/Summer of 2012 and will head to Mumbay ( India ) in the winter of 2012/2013.

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