White Cube LIRCAEI, designed by OMA / David Gianotten and located in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is featured in White Cube, a documentary by Dutch artist and filmmaker Renzo Martens in collaboration with the Cercle d’Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise (CATPC). The film will premiere at the international feature film competition at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) and in Lusanga on 21 November, before touring globally.
Located at an abandoned plantation in Lusanga, White Cube LIRCAEI is part of the OMA-designed LIRCAEI masterplan supporting a new art economic model, which includes the often exploited Congolese labours in art’s creation and profit sharing. White Cube, with scenes featuring the OMA-designed structure, tells the story of how Congolese labours, through this new art economic model, buy back the plantations once owned by international corporations and transform them into sites for ecological farming.
The documentary and the architecture are part of a communications campaign to address inequality in the global art economy. David Gianotten, OMA Managing Partner – Architect: “It was an honour to be asked by Renzo Martens and CATPC to design an art museum in Lusanga for the Congolese community. We look forward to responses to the documentary, and further dialogues on the subject of egalitarianism in the art world.”
The LIRCAEI masterplan sits on land that the Congolese labours acquired back from an international corporation. At its centre is infrastructure for art, including a conference center for local artists and the community to discuss ideas for new works, an atelier for making art, and White Cube LIRCAEI—a museum for display and sales of art created by the African community.
These art facilities are sandwiched between fields for ecological farming and living quarters, both of which can expand as the community grows. With an orthogonal plan and white surfaces, the 12m x 10.5m White Cube LIRCAEI is built with a slanted roof and a series of partitions to create a variety of spatial experiences. Close to the entrance, the high ceiling evokes contemporary art galleries in metropolises.
The ceiling height decreases as a visitor meanders deeper into the museum for a more intimate art experience. The museum journey ends with a large window open to the fields for ecological farming—a connection between art and Congolese labours’ livelihood. The project is led by David Gianotten and Max Scherer. The local executive architect is IJAMBO based in Kinshasa. Source and photos Courtesy of OMA.