Level Green Depicts the Many Facets of Sustainability
“Level Green,” an art exhibit/installation that’s also a social primer on sustainability and a living example of wise material use, reminds me of two earlier 3rings articles—Altreform’s auto-inspired aluminum-sculpted contract seating, and A6DS’ Grey Green, the first for its reliance on the long curves and chassis-like configuration of automobile technology, and the second for its aesthetically intriguing public display of a green ethos.
Level Green. Created by J. Mayer H. Architects and art + com Berlin for the Autostadt.
Commissioned by the Autostadt—Volkswagen’s museum/theme park on the history of mobility and transport–J. Mayer H. Architects and art + com Berlin created Level Green, a 9,000+ square foot intersecting network of vivid green buttresses housing interactive displays on sustainability. The exhibit recognizes the complexity of the concept by arguing for a synergistic view that accepts the interdependence between the environment, economy, and society, asserting that true sustainable solutions recognize that the needs of each must be met, otherwise we’re just robbing the proverbial Peter to pay Paul. These inextricable connections are represented on a spatial level with the exhibit’s architecture. Starting with a familiar two-dimensional representation of inter-dependence (the ubiquitous PET “closed loop” recycling symbol), the designers extrapolated this concept into three dimensions. The result is a vast, sprawling (and befuddling) web of connectivity, thus driving home the point that creating a more sustainable future will affect every facet of our lives.
The actual construction is achieved with MDF sheets treated for maximum fire resistance, steel-reinforced structure bolted to concrete, and highly-durable acrylic car paint. Each element meets rigid environmental regulations. The interactive displays within and behind and on the grid’s beams and shelves each offer surprising revelations about sustainability: the “Ecological Foot Print” display takes personal data and returns a customized visual depiction of an individual’s resource use, then gives suggestions to encourage change; “Utopia Test” examines the multiple ideas and depictions of future transport, analyzing which have remained purely fanciful and which have become reality; and “Effects of Climate Change” features a vivid depiction of social, economic, and environmental consequences of global warming.
The exhibit is to be lauded for its synthesis of aesthetic presentation and comprehensive information, since, as every teacher knows, students learn best when engaged on multiple sensual levels. Level Green fulfills this need with respect to sight, sound, and touch to be sure. Arguing for a synergistic approach between science, business, and technology, the exhibit postulates for our future survival by creating “an atmospheric spatial environment, one in which physical and digital spaces complement each other, creating one common narrative.”
All photography by ART+COM.