What do outer space capsules, submarines, and office buildings have in common? Each was conceived as a closed system: a self-sustaining physical environment demarcated from its surroundings by a boundary that does not allow for the transfer of matter or energy.
The history of twentieth century architecture, design, and engineering has been strongly linked to the conceptualization and production of closed systems. As partial reconstructions of the world in time and in space, closed systems identify and secure the cycling of materials necessary for the sustenance of life. Contemporary discussions about global warming, recycling, and sustainability have emerged as direct conceptual constructs related to the study and analysis of closed systems.
Closed Worlds, curated by Lydia Kallipoliti with exhibition and branding by Natasha Jen and Pentagram, exhibits an archive of 41 historical living prototypes built over the last century that present an unexplored genealogy of closed resource regeneration systems. The exhibition also features Some World Games, a virtual reality ecosystem by Farzin Farzin that presents a contemporary 42nd prototype selected as the winner of the Closed Worlds Design Competition hosted by Storefront in November 2015.