Inspired — Martin Leblanc

How the contemporary art experience inspires this Sid Lee Architecture partner to expand the potential of space.


“I’m lucky to be able to travel a lot, and I’m constantly on the lookout for new exhibition spaces and artists that have a spatial approach to their work. Like Ai Weiwei, who draws inspiration from Chinese culture but brings a very spatial dimension to his work, or Douglas Wheeler, who will simply manipulate light with pieces that amaze you but also prompt reflection on humanity, on your relationship to the person standing next to you, on space. Jeff Wall also does it with photography, but even historical art can be reinterpreted through an intelligent approach to space. For example, we’ve all seen paintings by Monet, which may not move us much, but I saw one of his huge tryptics at the Chichu Art Museum in Naoshima, in Japan. It was naturally lit, in an enormous white space with a textured floor. You had to take your shoes off to enter, inspiring a different sensory experience, so it created a whole new dimension to Monet. Whether it’s at the Long Museum in Shanghai or the Dia Beacon Museum in New York State, these are places that rethink space, light, scale and the potential for intrigue in the presentation. They really motivate me and impress me every time.” Martin Leblanc, Architect, Sid Lee Architecture, Partner