In a series of films for IKEA’s future-living lab SPACE10, Barcelona-based studio Six N. Five has created a futuristic and abstract depiction of living space through immaculate hyperreality. Comprising six 15-second films that combine in sequence, the CGI series is set in a vast, light-filled warehouse. Each starts off seeming like a very real location, all white walls and wooden floorboards, but as the floors start to warp and the walls concertina inwards, it quickly becomes apparent this is far from reality.
“We try to achieve a kind-of surreal world, that couldn’t exist in real life, that’s our point,” says Andy Reisinger, co-founder of the studio. “We want the confusion of what is real, what is fake? This wouldn’t be possible in a real set. Every piece has something weird that makes the viewer question what’s really there.”
The series was commissioned by SPACE10 to visualise its event during LDF, Exploring Spaces of Tomorrow, which will take over Protein Studios in Shoreditch with exhibitions, talks and discussions about our future living space from 18–23 September 2017. Each of the six days is themed, so each film is therefore an interpretation of that theme, for example Urban Spaces, Temporary Spaces and Portable Spaces. SPACE10’s head of playful research Bas van de Poel explains that he imagined the visuals to convey the topics in a “poetic manner, challenging the concept of space from different perspectives”.
“[SPACE10] aims to build a friendly future that feels more natural and human, and Six N. Five’s sleek, modern aesthetics reflect this future in the best possible way. Their work is a rare breed in the sterile, masculine world of CGI.”
According to Bas, the warehouse setting was inspired by the Dia:Beacon museum in New York state, an expansive space exhibiting large-scale art works. The team wanted the films to have individual identities while feeling congruous, so by creating a set of virtual rooms in one big space they are aesthetically connected. Giving this space warm wood floors and large warehouse windows flooding it with “natural” light made it seems homely and familiar, Andy says, which gives the films further dramatic effect when surreal things start happening.
From there, Six N. Five set about filling these spaces with colour-coded, abstract objects that represented each theme. For Urban Spaces, Andy and his creative partner Ezequiel Pini designed and rendered a set of furniture that feels normal but on closer inspection is far more surreal. They couldn’t use modern day furniture because doing so would instantly timestamp it, so these objects are distorted versions of reality. “We tried to maintain a neutral aesthetic,” Andy says. “This isn’t real furniture but it’s familiar, almost like a couch, a lamp, a bench but not quite.”
For Intelligent Spaces, it would have been tempting to go down the hi-tech route but this didn’t resonate with the friendly, domestic feel of the project. “It’s difficult to talk about intelligent space without showing anything digital, so the first problem is to avoid technology,” he continues. The resolution is a set of covetable wire furniture pieces that hint at an alternative future for a smart home. Similarly with Portable Spaces, avoiding robotics and materials that might traditionally be associated with futuristic home design, the film features a group of sculptures in solid materials such as marble and perspex gliding across the room.
It’s the satisfying way Six N. Five plays with materials that really makes the films sing. In Material Spaces, the objects sink into the floor as if it were putty. In Shared Spaces, the marble sinuously bends and snakes round the room with absolute fluidity, as do the folding walls of the Temporary Spaces film. This attention to detail, with its enveloping chimed soundtrack, draws the viewer into SPACE10’s dream world.
Visit Space10’s dedicated site, london.space10.io, to find out more about the Exploring Spaces of Tomorrow event.