Design minds behind Auckland Triennial’s Lab

Mike Davis and Sara Lee, The Lab Design. Image courtesy Mike Davis & Sara Lee


The 5th Auckland Triennial, If you were to live here … is to feature a design-based open laboratory called The Lab, which will be located at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki.

The Triennial, a three-month festival of contemporary art opening on 10 May, will bring local and international artists and architects together, including renowned architects American Teddy Cruz and Bijoy Jain from India.

Conceived by the Triennial's international curator, Hou Hanru, The Lab is a joint project of the architecture and spatial design faculties of AUT University, The University of Auckland and UNITEC.

'The Lab is the engine of the 5th Auckland Triennial,' says Hou. 'It is its intellectual core. As a space it functions like an on-going peoples' university where specialists come to give lectures, students participate in research and the public come to voice their opinions.

'The Lab functions like a machine of knowledge. Physically it consists of a presentation and discussion space, and a fluid gallery that can be used for performance and improvisation. The Lab creates a kind of brain for the whole project.'

Dr Andrew Barrie, Professor of Design at the School of Architecture & Planning at The University of Auckland says, 'The goal of The Lab is to bring the energy and flexibility of the design process into the exhibition rooms. We are excited about being able to address through The Lab some of the major issues confronting our city with the participation of design specialists, students, artists and the general public.'

Local academics, designers and architects are developing a series of two to three weeklong projects for The Lab. Working alongside them are students from the AUT Department of Spatial Design, UNITEC Department of Architecture, and The University of Auckland School of Architecture & Planning.

This series of five interdisciplinary design projects all respond to the challenges posed by Hou Hanru's theme If you were to live here…:

  • Sarosh Mulla, one of the founders of design collective Oh.No.Sumo, will create a specially designed installation exploring the Kiwi 'quarter-acre dream'
  • Andrew Barrie, Professor of Design at The University of Auckland, will consider how the rebuilding of destroyed churches can contribute to the recovery of Christchurch
  • Albert Refiti and Elvon Young will lead a team from AUT exploring socio-cultural-politico 'problematics' within and around Auckland
  • Maori architecture specialist Rau Hoskins, working with artist Carin Wilson, will lead a UNITEC team to design a hakari stage: a temporary and often massive Maori feast structure not constructed in 150 years
  • American architect Teddy Cruz, working with University of Auckland academic Kathy Waghorn, will create proposals for the rejuvenation of the Whau River area in Avondale.

Designed by Mike Davis and Sara Lee, both of The University of Auckland, the physical space of The Lab is a flexible system allowing a quick and easy transition between exhibition and event modes.

Works by three Triennial artists are directly relevant to the conversations of The Lab: Chinese artist Ou Ning, artist Do Ho Suh from Korea and New Zealand art collective, Local Time.

The Lab's accompanying programme of events will include workshops, lectures, debates, tours, performances and round table discussions. Bijoy Jain, founder of the award-winning Studio Mumbai, is also scheduled to join the events programme.

The 5th Auckland Triennial is the largest Auckland Triennial to date and will be presented at eight venues citywide. For the first time, entry to all venues will be free.

The 5th Auckland Triennial is presented by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki with Triennial Partner AUT University and exhibition partners Artspace, Auckland Museum, Fresh Gallery Otara, George Fraser Gallery, Gus Fisher Gallery, ST PAUL St Gallery and Waterfront Auckland's Wynyard Quarter.

The 5th Auckland Triennial will run from 10 May until 11 August 2013. Artspace ends its Triennial presentation 12 July 2013.



Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki
Cnr Kitchener and Wellesley Streets, Auckland Central
10am - 5pm daily

Level 1, 300 Karangahape Road, Newtown
Tuesday - Friday 10am - 6pm
Saturday 10am - 4pm

Auckland Museum
Auckland Domain
10am - 5pm daily

Fresh Gallery Otara
Shop 5, 46 Fairmall, Otara Town Centre
Tuesday - Friday 10am - 5pm
Saturday 8am - 2pm

George Fraser Gallery
25a Princes St, Auckland Central
Tuesday - Saturday 11am - 4pm

Gus Fisher Gallery
The Kenneth Myers Centre
74 Shortland St, Auckland Central
Tuesday - Friday 10am - 5pm
Saturday 12pm - 4pm

ST PAUL St Gallery
Gallery One and Two
Level 1, 40 St Paul Street, School of Art and Design, AUT University
Tuesday - Friday 10am - 5pm, Saturday 12pm - 4pm

Waterfront Auckland
Wynyard Quarter

Founding Partner

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki

Auckland Triennial Partner

AUT University

Major Supporters

Sue Fisher Art Trust
Chartwell Trust
Creative New Zealand
Australian Government/Australian Council for the Arts
Patrons of the Triennial
Auckland Council

Image: Mike Davis and Sara Lee, The Lab Design. Image courtesy Mike Davis & Sara Lee

Contact details: 
Tae Allison Communications Coordinator Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki P +64 9 307 7706 M +64 27 291 9953 E

Written by

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

18 Jan 2013

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki Art, history and culture are brought to life at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. Founded in 1888, the Gallery remains New Zealand’s largest visual arts experience, with a collection of more than 15,000 artworks.