At the end of any long, fulfilling journey, there’s nothing quite like coming home. After two years on three continents, the BMW Guggenheim Lab gets to do just that, with a concluding exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Participatory City: 100 Urban Trends from the BMW Guggenheim Lab opens this Friday, October 11 and runs until January 5, 2014. I’m here to tell you all the reasons you shouldn’t miss it, so listen up.
First, of course, there’s the exhibition itself. Part project documentation, part examination of the ideas and concepts explored at the Lab in its three global locations, the exhibition is designed to appeal both to those who have already experienced the Lab, and those who didn’t get the opportunity. Visitors can find out about the project and the many contributors who made it possible, and can also dig a little deeper and watch programs that took place during the Lab; learn about the Lab’s city projects; and explore the interactive 100 Urban Trends glossary that sums up the project’s major themes and looks to the future of the urban conversation in New York, Berlin, and Mumbai.
In keeping with the spirit of the Lab, the exhibition will exist beyond gallery walls: to help give a taste of Lab’s diverse program-based approach to urban dialogue, visitors are invited to a series of events taking place throughout the run of the exhibition. First up, tomorrow, in conjunction with the exhibition’s opening, be sure to catch data guru Michael Flowers, Director of Analytics for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Office of Policy and Strategic Planning (otherwise known as the city’s “geek squad”). He will talk about the fascinating role that urban data is playing in New York City improvements.
Then on November 2, former New York City Lab Team member, author, and happy-maker extraordinaire Charles Montgomery will celebrate the launch of his forthcoming book, Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design, in a night of radical experimentalism that will transform the museum into a laboratory that tests how design affects the way we feel. I’ve been sworn to secrecy on the fine details, but I can promise that if you stop by, you will leave feeling happier than when you arrived, possibly with a darn’ good book in hand to boot.
To see a more tangible product of the Lab, come see architect and Mumbai Lab Team member Neville Mars on December 1 as he presents the Water Bench—an outdoor bench that also harvests rainwater, which he developed in partnership with the Lab this year. Neville will be discussing the increasing importance of design solutions aimed at water conservation. These benches will be popping up in New York and cities around the world, so be sure to get your first sneak peek now!
Also, and absolutely not to be missed, is Cinematic Sites—a series of several city films beautifully curated by Paul Dallas, who organized the film series at the New York Lab. The films will be screened every Friday at 3 pm in the Guggenheim’s New Media Theater in the Sackler Center for Arts Education, with each screening exploring a different city through cinematic storytelling. The cities covered will include New York, Berlin, Mumbai, Cairo, Chengdu, Los Angeles, Recife, San Francisco, Tehran, and Vienna. Kicking off tomorrow with New York, naturally, the first event of the series will present Variety and the short but beguiling Square Times.
And last but not least, the BMW Guggenheim Lab YouTube channel will feature a fun and informal series of videos from citizens and organizations around the world in response to the Lab’s 100 Urban Trends glossary, featuring projects in their cities related to the various trends.
I hope you’ll join us at the Guggenheim for this multi-part celebration of the Lab’s journey.