In Mexico, on the Yucatan peninsula near Tulum, an important tourist destination for its fine sandy beaches and Mayan relics, Jorge Eduardo Neira Serkel founded Azulik. This tourist complex is made up of luxurious eco-friendly residences with views of the sea and the jungle, a destination for travellers who love nature and for honeymoon couples. In this paradisiacal space, the social entrepreneur and self-taught architect has recently opened the IK LAB, a modern art gallery that is itself a work of art.
The design for the gallery was developed in partnership with its director, Santiago Rumney Guggenheim, an important name in art patronage and collecting. He is the great-grandson of the famous Peggy Guggenheim.
When presenting the new gallery, Santiago Rumney Guggenheim underlined how the curved walls that characterise the exhibition space undoubtedly represent a big challenge for a curator, especially when compared to the ‘normal’ and ‘reliable’ straight white walls of a traditional gallery. He also remembered how his ancestor Peggy Guggenheim left Europe because of racial persecution and opened a gallery in New York in 1942 called Art of This Century, which had curved walls. This is without counting the breakthrough modern innovations of the architecture at the Guggenheim museums in New York and Bilbao.
The architecture of the IK LAB is inspired, like all the buildings in Jorge Eduardo Neira Serkel’s eco-resort, by the natural environment and, ideally, by the rich spiritual heritage of the Yucatan peninsula.
The gallery is a unique international exhibition space and redefines the relationship between art and the physical environment. It is a welcoming ‘shell’ made up of curved walls covered by plants, with smooth concrete parts and a slanting, irregular floor.
The gallery is 4 meters high and visitors pass through its glass and wood doors to enter another dimension. They are welcomed into a space that inspires warmth and protection, a natural organism that they are invited to interact with, for example by walking barefoot. This is essential to experiment with the various materials that make up the floor and for new experiences – from the cold of the smooth concrete to the warm, rough surfaces of inga wood, a climbing plant that is nature to the region.
The circular openings of different sizes are placed at various heights to light the exhibition space and provide glimpses of the sky and the jungle. The gallery has been designed as a place where cultural experiences are created for the local community and to establish partnerships with international artists.
IK LAB opened on 20th April with the exhibition Alignments, curated by Santiago Rumney Guggenheim with works by Tatiana Trouvé, Artur Lescher and Margo Trushina. These works explore man’s journey through the physical and metaphysical realm, inviting visitors to rediscover their own metaphysical sphere and condition in the physical space. The gallery itself induces visitors into a state of meditation and perception, becoming the gateway to discovering a new dimension.
Design: Jorge Eduardo Neira Serkel con Santiago Rumney Guggenheim
Place: Tulum, Mexico
Photos: © IK LAB, 2018. Courtesy of Fernando Artigas Architect / Photographer