balbek bureau converts shipping containers into portable cultural hub in ukraine

balbek bureau converts shipping containers into portable cultural hub in ukraine

Balbek Bureau’s Portable Cultural Space made of containers

 

MOT (Module of Temporality) is a mobile cultural space constructed from 27 cargo containers. Designed by Kyiv-based studio balbek bureau, this project was commissioned by Don’t Take Fake, a local event agency and contemporary culture magazine publisher. The containers have been strategically arranged to form a two-story complex, carefully planned for effortless disassembly, transport, and reassembly in less than ten days. MOT’s overarching approach is to delve into the notion of time and the fleeting nature of life through artistic expression. 

 

Since its launch in February 2023, MOT has traveled to three Ukrainian cities: Kyiv, Dnipro, and Lutsk, and is currently temporarily located in Lviv. Inside, MOT hosts a multimedia exhibition featuring the works of 28 artists from 10 different countries. All proceeds generated by MOT are dedicated to the restoration of art institutions in Ukraine that have suffered damage due to Russian aggression.

balbek bureau converts shipping containers into portable cultural hub in ukraine
all images by Andriy Bezuglov, unless stated otherwise

 

 

mot: a movable multifunctional space

 

The story behind the Module of Temporality (MOT) project began in 2012 when balbek bureau (see more here) ordered some containers from the Ilyichivsk Ship Repair Plant. Originally, these containers were intended to serve as a versatile space with the ability to relocate. The initial plan was for it to be used as an art center, and later, it could be used as a mobile school, lecture hall, event venue, or even a private residence. Regrettably, the project was never realized. In 2022, the team from Don’t Take Fake approached balbek bureau with a proposal to repurpose these containers for the MOT project.

 

For balbek bureau, one of the main challenges in designing MOT’s structure was its mobility and the complexity of the cantilever. They also put effort into ensuring proper thermal and water insulation. The modules themselves had a distinctive design, so there was no need for overly bold accents, except for the branding done by the CREVV design studio.

balbek bureau converts shipping containers into portable cultural hub in ukraine
designed for effortless dismantling, transportation, and reassembly in less than ten days

 

 

The focal point of MOT is an exhibition specially crafted for this endeavor. Spanning two floors of the venue, it showcases a diverse range of artworks, encompassing paintings, sculptures, installations, and audiovisual pieces. It features the works of several artists, including JR from France, Mark Jenkins from the USA, and local talents like Zhanna Kadyrova, Roman Minin, and Maria Kulikovska from Ukraine. Inside MOT’s welcome area, the intentionally low ceiling was designed to create a sense of confinement, reminiscent of the feeling people experience in shelters during air raids. On the other hand, the main exhibition area is spacious and open. The architects deliberately left the joints of the container walls visible to highlight the modular structure.

 

The primary material used throughout the design is metal, with various forms and textures. As a tribute to the enterprises affected by Russian aggression, the architects incorporated metal beams and sheets from Azovstal and the Ilich Iron & Steel Works, which were both heavily impacted during the battles for Mariupol. The interior design, except for the areas featuring yellow fiberglass, maintains a neutral color palette. Meanwhile, custom-made furniture, with varying shapes and heights, creates a visual contrast within the modules.

balbek bureau converts shipping containers into portable cultural hub in ukraine

balbek bureau converts shipping containers into a portable cultural hub
the MOT’s goal is to explore the concept of time and life’s transience through art

balbek-bureau-cargo-containers-movable-cultural-space-designboom-21800

balbek bureau converts shipping containers into portable cultural hub in ukraine the containers host a multimedia exhibition featuring the works of 28 artists

balbek-bureau-cargo-containers-movable-cultural-space-designboom-18008

every income generated by MOT is committed to the restoration of Ukrainian art institutions damaged by Russian aggression

balbek bureau converts shipping containers into portable cultural hub in ukraine

 

balbek bureau converts shipping containers into portable cultural hub in ukraine

 

 

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custom-made furniture, with varying shapes and heights, creates a visual contrast within the modules
custom-made furniture, with varying shapes and heights, creates a visual contrast within the modules
up to 100 people can be inside MOT simultaneously
up to 100 people can be inside MOT simultaneously
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Maryan Beresh
Maryan Beresh
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project info:

 

name: MOT

studio: balbek bureau  | @balbekbureau

architects: Slava Balbek, Alla Vitas-Zakharzhevska, Nata Kurylenko, Anastasiia Partyka, Artem Zavarzin
3D artist: Valeriy Stefanov
project manager: Anna Viktorova
area: 417 sqm
year: 2023

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ARCHITECTURE IN UKRAINE (34)

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EXHIBITION DESIGN (518)

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