Bêka & Lemoine Interview: The Emotion of the Space

Filmmakers Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine – who have been dubbed “cult figures in the European architecture world” – are celebrated for their unique, playful and intimate take on architecture. Instead of capturing empty buildings they follow the people living in them, for instance a housekeeper cleaning a house by Rem Koolhaas.

The film series ‘Living Architectures’ was a way of breaking with the traditional images of architecture, and how they never demonstrate how a space can trigger emotions. Bêka finds it ironic that when architects design something, they have the use of the place in mind, but when the final building is presented all you see is “empty space and beautiful light.” Hence, Bêka & Lemoine wanted to show how people actually live in a given space. In their iconic film ‘Koolhaas Houselife’ (2006), they follow the housekeeper around the ‘Maison á Bordeaux’ by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas for two weeks: “We felt that the movement inside architecture is very important to understand how the architecture works.” Unlike typical architecture films, they didn’t want to create a complete manual to the building, but rather something that would spark people’s curiosity. By giving voice to someone who knew the house thoroughly, they also proposed another way of talking about architecture, which wasn’t reserved the architectural elite: “If you know a lot of things about architecture, you have a sort of filter.”

Ila Bêka (b. 1967) is an Italian artist, architect, filmmaker, producer and publisher, who since 2007 has been part of Bêka & Lemoine with Louise Lemoine. The duo mainly focuses on experimenting with new cinematographic forms in relation to contemporary architecture. Bêka and Lemoine have developed an original film series called ‘Living Architectures’, out of which ‘Koolhaas Houselife’ (2006) became internationally renowned as the “architecture cult movie.” Selected as one of the 100 most talented personalities of 2017 by Icon Design, presented by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as one of the “most exciting and critical design project of the year 2016”, the complete work of Bêka & Lemoine has been acquired by MoMA in New York for their permanent collection. Their films have been shown in prestigious international cultural institutions and events such as the Venice Architecture Biennale, Centre Pompidou in Paris, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Barbican Centre in London and Fondazione Prada in Milan. For more see: http://www.bekalemoine.com/index.php

In the video, extracts are shown from ‘Koolhaas Houselife’ (2006), which features ‘Maison à Bordeaux’ in Bordeaux by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas; ‘The Infinite Happiness’ (2008), which features the ‘8 House’ in Copenhagen by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels; and ‘Moriyama-San’ (2017) featuring the ‘Moriyama house’ in Tokyo by Japanese architect Ryue Nishizawa.

Ila Bêka was interviewed by Karsten Ifversen at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark in May 2018.

Camera: Rasmus Quistgaard
Edited by: Rasmus Quistgaard
Produced by: Christian Lund
Cover photo: From ‘Koolhaas Houselife’ (2006) by Bêka & Lemoine
Copyright: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2018

Supported by Dreyers Fond

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