Peggy Guggenheim’s Great-Grandson commissioned designer Jorge Eduardo Neira Sterkel to create IK LAB, an environmentally conscious art gallery located in the eco-friendly Azulik resort in Tulum, Mexico.
Redefining the spatial and conceptual parameters of the art experience, the organic shapes and meandering expanses of IK LAB’s unique exhibition spaces immerse the visitor in a meditative state, serving as a gateway to discovery and connectedness.
“My history with Tulum is deep-rooted, and this project is very close to my heart,” says Santiago Rumney Guggenheim, Director of IK Lab. “IK LAB is more than a gallery, it aspires to provide a framework for the world’s finest creative minds to interact with the gallery’s visionary architecture and explore new ways of creation.”
IK Lab was conceived as a place to create unprecedented cultural experiences for both Tulum’s expanding local community and international visitors by presenting groundbreaking contemporary art exhibitions.
Located within the ecologically inspired resort Azulik, IK Lab’s architecture draws inspiration from its natural surroundings and redefines the relationship between art and its physical environment.
Through its environmentally conscious design, a bespoke circle of artists, and avant-garde residency program, IK Lab pushes the boundaries of the art experience. The space captures the quintessence of the Yucatan peninsula’s abundant nature and rich spiritual heritage, projecting it into the future as an inspiration and model for communities beyond.
Entering through IK Lab’s wooden and glass doors, reaching 4 meters tall, visitors are elevated into another dimension. Visually, the perspective and the uncanny scale of the space create a sense of vast infinity, while its curves foster warmth and protection.
Visitors are invited to walk barefoot through the gallery and to interact with the floor as a living organism. External noise is muted within the interior, causing the sounds of each step to reverberate and echo throughout the space, amplifying this sense of surreal dimensions. There is an element of surprise in the transition between cool, polished cement to the warm to raw ‘Bejuco’ wooden floors—a vine-like plant native to the region.
Round windows set into the massive, geometrically patterned dome illuminate the gallery, serving as portals to the surrounding jungle and sky. This majestic space redefines the traditional white-cube, gallery-visiting experience, instead of fortifying the organic relationship between art and its physical surroundings.
Santiago R Guggenheim curated the first exhibition at the IK Lab. Called Alignments and opened on 20 April 2018, it features work by artists including Tatiana Trouvé, Artur Lescher and Margo Trushina. Azulik is among a host of accommodation options in Tulum, which has become a popular holiday destination in recent years and sparked a number of design-focussed developments along its beach.