Bal Harbour Shops / ACCESS

Client: Bal Harbour Shops
Design: 2022
Architecture: LOT-EK
Landscape: Studio Zewde
Structure: Silman
Lighting: Available Light
AV+IT: MyArtsNet
Kitchen design: Space by Spielman
Photo Credits: Danny Bright

Containers/ BMarko
Logistics + Install / PopUp Agency
Planters and Displays / Deadalus
Canopy / ShadeFX+RA Engineering
Water Features: Delta Fountain

Inspired by the unique Bal Harbor Shops in Florida and its long, lush, subtropical courtyard, Bal Harbour Shops/ACCESS is a transportable building conceived to bring the full Bal Harbour Shops tropical modernist experience to a new location every season. The black and white motif and the elegant, understated atmosphere are replicated here in an intimate, unexpected structure.

At 17,000SF, Bal Harbour Shops/ACCESS is exceptionally large for a mobile, and exceptionally daring with its transportable lush and large garden. Its real core, in fact, is the green space. 28 containers are organized in two 160’-long parallel volumes to capture an extensive garden—comprehensive of the signature species and water features with koi fish. This courtyard is flanked by pedestrian walkways as long shaded porticos, to visit and access all shops. Inspired by the long row of palm trees and their shadows on the walls at BHS, the porticos are cut and painted in the shape of palm tree shadows, bringing BHS character to this new experience.

The space is organized around a central gathering area with a restaurant, covered outdoor dining, and a lounge. Small, medium, and large shops, along the facing pedestrian paths, are activated on a rotating basis, and customized through a system of modular displays and graphic panels. A large monstera leaf marks the simple white volumes on their outer surfaces, in contrast with its rich interior experience.

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Bal Harbour Shops︎



Client: Brooklyn Museum 
Type: Public Art Installation 
Size: 3,400sqft
Location: Domino Park, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Design: 2020
Consultants: Structure: Silman, Eytan Solomon, Hermona Tamrat
Fabrication: Containers, Sea Box; Connections, Maspeth Welding + Peck&Hale; Site Work, Craft Workshop
Photography: Courtesy of LOT-EK + Marc Azoulay © 

TRIANGLE STACK #2 is designed for the Brooklyn Museum to support an urban-scale mural by the artist JR, and create an instant public space, a 60-foot tall triangular courtyard open to the city and the sky:

STACKS are temporary large-scale installations that aim at creating sudden and powerful experience in public space. Taking advantage of the systems and technologies for movement and storage of shipping containers, STACKS propose ‘dry’ assemblies, in which containers are selected and simply piled up to form different configurations—generating a variety of volumes and of interior spaces. Strategies of repetition and variation both channel and challenge the shipping container’s structural logic: twisting the conventional container masses with attention to space, and to a direct one-to-one experience as the stack space is visited, crossed and traversed freely. STACKS are site activators.

In May and June 2018, JR’s mobile studio was parked at fifteen different locations around the five boroughs of New York City, chosen for being specific crossroads of the city. JR and his team photographed 1,128 New Yorkers, from all walks of life, in their own neighborhoods. Only through this artistic process can such a unique cross-section of the city be brought together in a mural. The aim is to tell a story of New York City today through art: its energy, its feats, its issues, its people.


If we pay enough attention to the ordinary, we see the extraordinary. The shipping container is an accidental icon of our modern age: the eight-foot-by-forty-foot corrugated steel box that brings the world to our doorstep. It brings all our hearts’ desires’, available for purchase. And it brings us complicity in the global supply chains, and all the economic, ecological, technological, and political systems that forge those chains, as those great container ships link maker and user, buyer and seller, China and America together across the vast distances of the lawless sea. The design studio LOT-EK is a visionary practice at the intersection of art and architecture, that specializes in upcycling, which is the art and science of repurposing, remaking, rethinking, reimagining. Of using old things in new ways. The shipping container is the thing that has captured their imagination for over a quarter-century: they have remade containers into homes, schools, galleries, libraries, and more. With hundreds of millions of obsolete and unused containers around the world, this is a new and necessary architecture of the future, that repairs and regenerates the unnatural environment that we have inherited from the past. WE START WITH THE THINGS WE FIND is a feature-length documentary of this vision, and of the soulful lifelong partnership of the people, designers Ada Tolla and Giuseppe Lignano, behind it.

WE START WITH THE THINGS WE FIND shows us a way to be radically optimistic, creative, and constructive during times that can feel the opposite of all that. Director Thomas Piper’s acclaimed documentary feature Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf showed how the wild and unfavored plants could encourage audiences to live more responsibly with nature, and now he looks at living more smartly and sweetly with the effects of industry, infrastructure, and technology. Taking us from spark-filled workshops to a container ship sea voyage over a shimmering sea; and explaining all the prosaic and poetic design thinking behind how LOT-EK brings the container to life, the film shows how all we have can become all we need, how resourceful subsistence can feel like beautiful abundance, and how to keep going when we now know there is no such thing as a fresh start. The film is a humanist essay not only about a new kind of design thinking, but about a new design for life.




Client: Socrates Sculpture Park
Type: Art & Education
Location: Queens, New York
Size: 2640 SF
Design: 2016
Structure: Silman
Mechanical: JFK&M
Civil: Langan
AWARD: NYC Public Design Commission - 2017 Award for Excellence in Design

LOT-EK’s innovative design underscores the Park’s history of reclamation and revitalization, along with its mission of presenting contemporary public art, fostering environmental stewardship, and building community. The structure that has become The Cubes began its existence as a commission by The Whitney Museum of American Art. Then a 720 square foot structure, it comprised six shipping containers and housed the museum’s education programs in an annex sensitively installed into the museum’s famous “moat” at its former Marcel Breuer building on Madison Avenue. When the Whitney was planning its new home on Gansevoort Street, the Museum offered the structure as a donation to Socrates Sculpture Park. This extraordinary opportunity led to our expansion plan: to adapt the containers and fulfill the Park’s strategic and programmatic goals—including the creation of its first indoor space. Socrates Sculpture Park already utilizes shipping containers in an adapted reuse vision throughout our park, as equipment and material storage units for open air artist studios and education areas.

LOT-EK’s architectural concept has expanded and evolved the original design for the Whitney commission by adding twelve additional shipping containers for a total of eighteen, now stacked on two levels to form a singular structure. Continuous diagonal bands of glass along the sides and roof of the structure provide natural light and transparency, offering building visitors a view of the landscape and skyline outside, and offering park visitors a view of activities inside. These linear chevron windows curate those views while reserving ample wall space within the building for indoor exhibitions. Their striking V-shapes mirror the structure of the steel artist shed located nearby.

Located at the main entrance of Socrates Sculpture Park at Vernon Boulevard, “The Cubes” will house the park’s administration and educational programs, and will be the first permanent structure in the Park’s thirty-year history. The new facility will include 2,640 square feet of interior space with a 960-square foot flexible multi-purpose area for  indoor education programming, housing classes of up to 70 children and teens. It will also accomodate indoor presentation of videos, drawings, photographs and process source materials by artists on view in the park; plus 1,200 square feet of permanent office and administration space that will secure the park’s long-term sustainability. Also included will be a 480 square-foot shaded deck area for outdoor classes and programming. The roof will be outfitted with solar panels to provide renewable energy and to perform  as a teaching tool for sustainable practices.

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Socrates Sculpture Park︎