SPACE10 Gallery: The Ideal City 2040
Photo — Seth Nicolas
Our new exhibition The Ideal City 2040 imagines a fictional, utopian tomorrow where cities exist in harmony with nature, and improve our environment and quality of life.
More than 55 percent of the world’s population lives in cities. Another 1.5 million people move into cities every week. We have an unprecedented opportunity to rethink, adapt and design our cities to be places that feel better for more people — and for our planet. We have all the knowledge we need. So how can we put it into action?
In 2021, we teamed up with gestalten to publish The Ideal City and reimagine the cities of tomorrow. Speaking with designers, researchers, technologists, community leaders and city planners, the book showcases inspiring solutions for a better everyday life for both people and the planet.
For The Ideal City 2040, we extend these projects and perspectives beyond the page and weave them together in virtual reality (VR).
About the exhibition
In this interactive installation, we share three speculative environments — the Coastal City, the Garden City, and the Solar City. Entering these envisioned futures, visitors experience what our cities could look like in the year 2040.
We collaborated with Modem and Studio Rowan Siriram to design a space that could be adapted and reused as the exhibition travels and is inspired by different types of scaffolding seen in cities under construction.
Through custom-designed VR headsets in the shape of coin-operated binoculars, visitors glimpse scenes that meld the illustrations of artists Manshen Lo, Wanjira Kinyua, and Sébastien Plassard with a VR experience created by Set Snail. Each scene is accompanied by an audio narration that guides the viewer through the actions the cities took to arrive at a safe, desirable and hopeful 2040.
These envisioned futures highlight how cities in different bioregions might take localised approaches to address the climate crisis — and how we can get there together.
About the collaborators
Modem is an office for design and innovation, designing for resilience in times of exceptional change. Modem works as a hybrid between a think tank and design studio to anticipate and respond to new and emerging futures.
Wanjira Kinyua is a designer and illustrator based in Nairobi. Her previous clients include CNN Style, Airbnb, and Google. Inspired by everyday subjects, she takes a historical approach to her illustrations and aims to create worlds within them.
Manshen Lo is a visual artist living in London. Her minimalist compositions investigate the subtle tension between humans and urban space. Previous clients include Pentagram, Bloomberg Businessweek, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic, and MTV.
Sébastien Plassard is an illustrator based in Paris, who has previously collaborated with Télérama, GQ, The New York Times, and The New Yorker. Cinematic and surreal, his drawings narrate the absurdity and contradictions of the everyday.
Set Snail is an experimental development playground and indie games studio. Based in Denmark, the team helps agencies and companies create exciting and playful interactive experiences across all sorts of digital media.
Studio Rowan Siriram is a design studio focusing on spatial design, light installations and odd furniture. Inspired by the preservation of cultural heritage and sci-fi movies from the early 2000s, they create multisensory, scenographic experiences and structures.
Thanks to Liv Siddall.