IK LAB / Jorge Eduardo Neira Sterkel

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  • Architects: Jorge Eduardo Neira Sterkel
  • Location: QROO 15, Q.R., Mexico
  • Gallery Director: Santiago Rumney Guggenheim
  • Project Year: 2018
Azulik Hotel. Image Courtesy of IK LAB Azulik Hotel. Image Courtesy of IK LAB

A New, Eco-Conscious Gallery Brings Fine Art to Tulum

In the heart of one of the most exclusive locations in South America, an unprecedented art gallery project is showcasing a roster of prominent international artists and hosting breakthrough contemporary art exhibitions. IK LAB develops unprecedented immersive cultural experiences for Tulum’s expanding local community and international visitors fostering creativity, awareness, and vision.

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Through its environmentally conscious design, a bespoke circle of artists and avant-garde residency program, IK LAB aspires to provide a framework for the world’s finest creative minds to interact with the gallery’s visionary architecture. It captures the quintessence of the Yucatan peninsula’s abundant nature and rich spiritual heritage to project it into a new future as an inspiration and model for communities beyond.

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The savvy combination of ancestral knowledge, technological innovation, applied sustainability, lived spirituality and collective experiences will culminate in new ways of creating and experiencing art as a token of the potential of human evolution and vision.

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To understand the singular nature of the Yucatán Peninsula – the 73,600 square mile land mass separating the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico – one must go back 65 million years, to the end of the Cretaceous Period. It was then that geologists say a asteroid roughly six miles wide barreled out of deep space and hit the northern coast of the Yucatán with a force ten billion times stronger than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Azulik Hotel. Image Courtesy of IK LAB Azulik Hotel. Image Courtesy of IK LAB

Tulum and the Yucatán are often referred to as a “vortex”– one of the world’s highly charged points – and in fact an incredible amount of energy hit and then emanated from this place. The repercussions changed the course of life on Earth and affected the civilizations that would develop and flourish millions of years later. Today modern people, us, travel to Tulum to feel the intense rhythms of nature inherent in this land and continue the cycle of worship demand- ed by a place of such tremendous power and beauty.

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To access the dome. the visitor has to cross a mystical river in the jungle and walk on water. The entrance acts as a vortex, a curved tunnel with an unknown destination.

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The walk until the entrance requieres a sense of balance and agility. Going from the gallery to the Dome is a journey. The visitor is surrounded by the sound of natural waterfall. This rain will later become a rain of metal.

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Visitors are elevated into another dimension as they enter through IK Labs’s wooden and glass doors, reaching 4
meters tall. Visually, the perspective and the uncanny scale of the space create a sense of vast infinity while it’s curves
foster warmth and protection.

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Barefoot, the visitor is invited to interact with the floor as a living organism. There is an element of surprise as one transitions from the contrasting cool and smooth polished cement to the warm and raw “Bejuco” wooden floors. All external sound is muted while internal steps reverberate and echo, amplifying the surreal dimensions of the space.

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Massive and geometric domes are magically illuminated by 2 round windows, or portals, to the surrounding jungle and sky.
This majestic space redefines the white-cube, gallery-visiting experience, as it fortifies the organic relationship
between art and its physical environment surroundings. The structure hints at invisible dimensions as the mind is sent to wander across for an unforgettable journey. Human made, this visionary project is a tribute to our soil but also a gentle reminder that humans are only nature made.

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