rzlbd’s new atelier rzlbd

A void cannot exist without a mass, and the multipurpose art gallery designed by atelier Reza Aliabadi (rzlbd ) is an expression of this realization and a representative of its design philosophy. Located in Bayview Village shopping mall, the gallery explores the challenges of integrating shopping experience with public and private events that promote contemporary art and architecture.

Architect Reza Aliabadi split the atelier into two separate rooms that complement one another by their immediate contrast: a void and a mass. The void is a gallery space: a spacious 2,000-square-foot room that has been cleared of any distracting elements. It is surrounded by white drywall installed as presentation boards on reinforced plywood. The gallery is washed with concealed natural-light linear fluorescent bulbs, with hardly any conventional gallery accessories to distract from the artworks. Apart from the massive entrance door built with anodized aluminum sheets, everything else stays invisible in the gallery to ensure the appreciation of the work.

At the other end of the room, a cosy space that lives behind a two-sided pivot door created the mass for the void. The room consists of a kitchenette and a work area surrounded by black paint and populated by minimal furniture and built-in millwork.

The small intimate think tank appears to be in a mental competition with the gallery outside, yet they are a cooperative couple as they aim for the same vision: to create and celebrate art. While their appearances are opposite in a direct and sudden manner, their curious coexistence resembles a passionate waltz, where one leads the other, puts it in danger by holding it in the air, but then proudly protects it from falling, and they both continue to dance.

“We work the clay in the shape of a vase, for it is precisely where there is nothing that the effectiveness of the vase resides. We make openings for doors and windows to make a house, for it is precisely where there is nothing that the effectiveness of the house resides. Thus, we think that we benefit from things that are tangible, but it is precisely where we do not perceive anything that true effectiveness resides.”

—Lao Tzu