Style Wars

Modernists vs. Traditionalists

…Mobile Studio took the game and elevated it to a platform for the discussion of architecture and politics… By using this playful concept, Mobile Studio made us question the relevance of style in architecture; explaining that good architecture arises not from modernist or traditionalist schools of thought but rather out of discussion, collaboration and game-playing.

Manijeh Verghese, Icon Magazine

‘Style Wars (Chess Set): Modernists vs. Traditionalists’ drew on recent style wars surrounding the Prince of Wales’s controversial interventions into the UK planning process. Prince Charles’s recent speech at the Royal Institute of British Architects in June 2009, to celebrate the institution’s 175th birthday, had continued to divide the architecture community. The contentious issue originated from the Prince’s speech 25 years ago at the RIBA in which he kick-started a style war; Classicists versus Modernists.

Mobile Studio’s architectural sculpture took the form of a board game, continuing in the tradition of artists’ Chess Sets (eg. Yoko Ono, Rachel Whiteread, Guy Debord, etc), that acted as a metaphor for the continuing debate on taste, style and the future of British housing, architecture and planning. The work was fabricated with the latest 3D printing technology at DMC London (Bartlett, UCL). By utilizing the cutting edge manufacturing technology, the work also explored contemporary debates about art, craft and the construction process.

*(Mobile Studio was invited by Kate Goodwin, the Drue Heinz Curator of Architecture, to talk about ‘Style Wars’ at the Curator’s Choice Summer Exhibition Architecture Room Talk on 16th July 2010).

It’s brilliant that a chess set makes it to the RA Summer Exhibition, and that our favourite game can once again assist as a vehicle for representing the play of thesis and antithesis in contemporary debates.

Martin Smith, Streatham + Brixton Chess Club

‘A Few Friends’ an exhibition curated by Will Alsop London Design Festival 2011
Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2010
Blyth Gallery 2009

Imperial College, London
The Royal Academy of Arts, London
TestBed1 Gallery, Battersea London

White set sold – Private client
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Curator’s Choice: Summer Exhibition Architecture Room Talk (16th July 2010)


Icon Magazine
Streatham + Brixton Chess Club


Special thanks
Bartlett Architecture Research Fund, UCL
DMC London
Leyland Paints

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