Move and connect
Mar 20, 2013
Video still: “Movement in Space” by Simonswerk, choreography by Guido Markowitz. Photo © Ursula Kaufmann

A dark stage. Doors open and wide bands of bright light stream into the depths of the space. A video, a series of cross-fades, portrays two male dancers dressed in gray and their female counterpart in a red dress, twirling, leaping around the room, interacting with one another. Here, among these movements and gestures, architect Katharina Feldhusen and choreographer Guido Markowitz express their closely related notion of space, how we can experience it and how it isn’t perceived as static but takes shape before us. “We are the ones who make movement possible in the first place,” adds Michael Meier from SIMONSWERK, the manufacturer of the door mountings seen in the video. Parallel to this, SIMONSWERK has also published “Movement in Space”, a book presenting a series of buildings, interviews with architects and choreographers as well as essays on dance and notation.

The hinge systems installed in the new buildings (a layman would probably refer to them simply as hinges) have the ability to emphasize or conceal transitions. In one residential building in Bielefeld, Germany, in which all built-in furniture has been installed flush to the surrounding surfaces, they completely disappear into the frames, while in other cases such elements have been consciously emphasized, e.g., on the security gates at Dortmund Concert Hall. Ralf Schulte-Ladbeck, the planner behind the latter, believes that architecture is shaped by sequences of motion and connections between spaces. This is the same springboard taken by Sasha Waltz and her dancers, who explored the halls, stairwells and suites of galleries in Berlin’s Neues Museum as part of unusual dance performances and in doing so “unlocked” the audience’s experience of the museum’s empty, unoccupied halls. Such productions are often improvisations, though the intention is that they are captured as “scores” – there is after all a wide range of possibilities when it comes to notation, another aspect covered in the book. Merce Cunningham, for example, created digital illustrations using heat sensors, a dynamic high-tech variation on traditional forms of notation which date back to the strictly schematic rendering techniques used during the Baroque period. But an illustrative representation of movement within a space can also provide a starting point for architects when thinking about a design. Lucy Hillebrand used this technique to create a series of drawings whereby curving, sweeping contours capture fleeting movements in a “spatial script”. As such, in the buildings she creates, spatial and dancing figures become her means of embracing and unlocking the space’s potential, and this is where, as a manufacturer of hinge systems, SIMONSWERK comes back into play.

Video still: “Movement in Space” by Simonswerk, choreography by Guido Markowitz. Photo © Ursula Kaufmann
Video still: “Movement in Space” by Simonswerk, choreography by Guido Markowitz. Photo © Ursula Kaufmann
Simonswerk – door hinge: detail photograph. Photo © Simonswerk, Johannes Pöttgens
Ballet Zürich: Goldberg variations, choreography by Heinz Spoerli. Photo © Peter Schnetz
High-tech hinges: Simonswerk – Tectus concealed hinges, detail photograph. Photo © Simonswerk, Johannes Pöttgens
A glimpse into the office of Dortmund-based architect Andres Hanke, with bronze Variant VX door hinges by Simonswerk. Photo © Ursula Kaufmann
Sasha Waltz Compagnie: Dialoge 09 at Berlin’s Neues Museum. Photo © Bernd Uhlig
Kunsthalle Bremen, interior view with embedded door hinges. Photo © Bernadette Grimmenstein
Kunsthalle Bremen, extension designed by Hufnagel Pütz Rafaelian Architekten. For the opening in 2010 the empty spaces were filled with sound and light installations. Photo © Bernadette Grimmenstein