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Contrast and Cohesion - Concrete Lace

G8A Architects

Dancing the space.

Part of a series of short videos embracing architecture through contemporary dance, videography, original score, and costume, “Concrete Lace” was first shown in a 3 channel installation, representing key projects by G8A architects. Along with Concrete Lace, shot in Hanoi, Vietnam, the installation included Punggol Waterway Terraces in Singapore) and The Birds in Geneva, Switzerland.

Covering the narrative of the agency the video series has been presented in Singapore in March 2019 and Zurich in June 2019 and was conceived as original and malleable material, that could be adjusted to several exhibition spaces and concepts.

Elisa Luong, communication manager for G8A, whose background is in contemporary art and worked as arts manager and writer in the fields of visual arts and performance, spoke with us about the idea behind the videos, here represented by Concrete Lace: "When I began at the agency, we were working with writers and publishers to prepare the first monograph that was published in 2019. That book was reflective not only of the agency's designs but also of the spirit of collaboration that is cornerstone to us, as we often work closely not only with fellow architects and engineers but also with graphic designers, photographers, academics and researchers, artists and local experts that share the interest of creating meaningful spaces."

Thus came the idea of videos, she explains: “We were interested in exploring our projects' design elements through a different medium, and that of dance and video seemed a natural step as well as conceptually sound. Architecture as dance speak the same language, the expression and experience of physicality in space."

The idea was to give voice (and body) to the built environment, to illustrate the sentiment of space. In this case, the subject was Concrete Lace, an office building located in Hanoi, part of Village 3 in the High-Tech Park master plan. Inspired by North Vietnamese village aesthetic, in the way in which the stories and the concrete columns bend, as they were branches, the courtyard radiates in four pathways and connects with the landscape, the concrete building is the result of a renovation work of the previous structure, now restored to meet the sustainability standard and to go past any "expire date".

Here, Victor Dumont, the dancer, moves and plays, and thus he describes the space he is in, not just jumping from a place to another or running around the courtyard, but rather creating space around him, making it more visible. The video, which should be seen next to the other two to have a more comprehensive look, sometimes leaves the viewer wants for more, a more "interactive-with-the-space" choreography, or more viewings of the same structure, but is simple and effective for the architect studio’s brief. Dance and architecture are speaking similar tongues here - even more as they are represented through video.


Mentioned project: Concrete Lace (2012)
Project location: Hanoi, Vietnam
Art direction: Elise Luong
Video maker: Vincent Baumont (Almaz Media)
Dancer: Victor Dumont
Costume: Kilomet109
Music: Rodolphe Coster

Vietnam 2018
Duration: 7'45"