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Reimagining the chair as an architectural material
With their focus on “environmental acuity and a critical digital ethic,” Brian Bush and Yong Ju Lee of E/B Office describe themselves as “digital architects” who design “real projects that are virtually indistinguishable from their digital visions.” Their most recent vision included 300 of IKEA’s pine wood Ivar chairs arching through the air across the wide lawn at Freedom Park in Atlanta, where SEAT was installed earlier this summer for Flux Projects, a public art organization. Bush and Lee hope that SEAT will encourage people to reconsider the chair as more than just a passive, everyday object, but as an architectural structure in and of itself. Indeed, sitting amongst a swooping pavilion built entirely out of chairs, it would be difficult not to.
No doubt you’ve seen the Ivar chair before, or something like it. Popular for its low price ($24.99) and ability to be painted any color, Ivar is so basic it’s the kind of chair that should pop right up when you do a Google Image search for “chair” (it doesn’t, though IKEA’s Poang does). Because they came from IKEA, all 300 were assembled by hand by Bush, Lee and a team of 15. The chairs were unaltered except for the seat, which was removed from most to make them easier to connect. After Bush and Lee made a 3D model in Rhino with the help of a structural engineer, they launched right into building the full-scale version onsite. Read More
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A 100 percent PET plastic garden grows in London
If you were fortunate enough to visit the London Olympics this summer and happened to walk through Victoria Park or the main quad at University College London (UCL) on your way to the games, then you experienced BLOOM, a big, bright, architectural garden created by complete strangers who gathered over the course of the two weeks to piece together 60,000 plastic game pieces, all dyed official Olympic hot pink. Designed by Alisa Andrasek and Jose Sanchez, two architecture professors from UCL’s Bartlett School of Architecture, BLOOM was selected by the Greater London Authority for a series of events and installations mounted in two locations during the games with a third location in Trafalgar Square to follow for the upcoming Paralympics.
Andrasek and Sanchez had been developing the idea for an open-ended, crowdsourced game that would encourage interaction between people in a large public space when the opportunity to be involved with the Olympics arose. The timing was perfect. Here was a moment in the city’s history when locals and tourists alike would be in the same location to celebrate athletics, and Andrasek and Sanchez hoped to capitalize on that spirit of camaraderie. The game starts with the pink game pieces, called cells. Each 16 inch-long cell is made of 100% PET plastic and has three points of entry, or notches used to connect the pieces together. Once Andrasek and Sanchez created a design for the cells, they were injection molded at Atomplast, a Chilean plastics fabricator that Andrasek and Sanchez had worked with previously. The cells are flexible, durable and can be bent and twisted into different configurations without warping or breaking. There were also several structural steel components on hand for using with the cells to build benches, tables, forts and other larger formations. Read More
On any typical day, the pedestrianized Rua Luís de Camões in the small Portuguese town of Águeda is a charming place to experience the city, but this July, a cultural festival called AgitÁgueda (Stir Agueda) rolled out the green carpet, suspended hundreds of colorful umbrellas overhead, and invited residents to see the city in a whole new light.
In the middle of a lightly populated island in the middle of a French reservoir—the Ile de Vassivière—an eerie green glow rises from the crest of a hill at dusk, indicating that you’ve found OTRO, a phosphorescent skate park of sinuous bowls and tunnels. Designed by artist Koo Jeong-A, L’Escaut Architectures, and skateboard consultants Brusk and Barricade, the project is described as “skateable artwork” and located near a large chateau housing the International Center of Art and Landscape, a light house designed by Aldo Rossi, and a humanoid piece of land art only visible from high above.
“What if mobile, self-sufficient living units were the building blocks for future cities?” asked New York artist Mary Mattingly. She explored this question in her Flock House Project, experimenting with migratory living solutions through fantastical inhabitable installation art. The project is going on throughout the city this summer.
Mattingly’s series of four “Houses” have been traveling around the five boroughs since June. Individually titled the Microsphere, Terrapod, Chromasphere, and Cacoon, they are now on display at the Bronx Museum, Snug Harbor, the Maiden Lane Exhibition Space, and Omi Sculpture Park in Ghent, NY.
Socrates Sculpture Park
3205 Vernon Boulevard
Through October 21
Socrates Sculpture Park and the Architectural League of New York present the inaugural recipients of the park’s “Folly” grant and residency for emerging architects and designers to New Yorkers Jerome Haferd and K. Brandt Knapp. The residency was established to investigate the intersection of architectural and sculptural disciplines and the increasing overlap in references, materials, and techniques between the two. To this end, young architects and designers were asked to propose a contemporary interpretation of the folly, a structure whose purpose is purely decorative but architectural in form. Haferd and Knapp’s winning submission, Curtain (above), is composed of a series of slender wooden posts that define a space of 20 feet on each side and a triangulated roof canopy approximately 8 to 12 feet high. White chains, some suspended between posts and some left hanging, will suggest occupiable spaces within the structure and will sway with the breeze off the East River—a play on the modernist conception of the “curtain wall.”
Last night, crowds of young architecture types filled the courtyard at MoMA PS1 in Queens to meet Wendy, this year’s Young Architects Program winner by HWKN. Visible from the nearby elevated subway station and from the streets around MoMA PS1, Wendy is comprised of pollution-fighting fabric spikes set in a grid of scaffolding intersecting the concrete courtyard walls. Yesterday’s crowds were given special access to the interior of the installation, revealing a complex structure of poles, fans, and misters that will cool visitors this summer.
MoMA PS1 will host its annual Warm Up music series in the courtyard beginning on July 7, showcasing “the best in experimental live music, sound, performance, and DJs.” Wendy will officially open to the public on July 1. Meanwhile, at a taxi garage across the street, small fragments of last year’s installation by Interboro called Holding Pattern are still in use on the sidewalk.