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Competition winner uses composite materials to re-imagine Semper’s primitive hut.
The title of TEX-FAB‘s fourth annual competition—Plasticity—has a double meaning. It refers first to the concept at the core of the competition brief: the capacity of parametric design and digital fabrication to manifest new formal possibilities. But it also alludes to the material itself, fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP). “Plastics have the potential to push contemporary architecture beyond the frame-plus-cladding formula dominant since at least the 19th century,” said competition winner Justin Diles. Pointing to traditional stonecutting and vault work, he said, “I’m very interested in this large volumetric mode of construction, but I’m not at all interested in the stone. I think that composites probably offer the best way of addressing this old yet new mode of constructing architecture.”
Plastics was the key word at the recent Columbia conference “Permanent Change: Plastics in Architecture and Engineering,” which featured some of the best architects working with polymers today. On opening night, Greg Lynn did away with traditional tectonics in favor of total composite design from recycled toys to beautiful racing boats. Several pieces were on display in the lobby, including a beautiful backlit ribbed column cover designed by Columbia associate professor Yoshiko Sato (assisted by Shuning Zhao and John Hooper). Sato, who’s known for her NASA design research and space course at Columbia, also designed the two over-sized plastic inflatable flowers suspended from the lobby ceiling, as shown above. The composite designs will be up and on view at the Morningside Heights campus at least another week.
Reminiscent of the ever-so-popular jelly shoes of the 1980s, and more recent incarnations such as Marc Jacobs Rubber Ballet Flat Shoes which debuted in 2007, Italian furniture powerhouse Kartell, internationally renowned for modern furniture design in plastics, and young Italian fashion label .normaluisa recently released a shoe collection of plastic ballerina flats aptly called “Glue Cinderella.” Combining Kartell’s innovative technology with .normaluisa’s youthful design sensibility their latest collaboration offers classic style with an edgy vibe. Read More