Vlad Tenu Gets Down to the Bare Minimum

Fabrikator
Friday, March 1, 2013
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minimal_complexity_12

MC/2* is the latest of Vlad Tenu’s research projects to create minimal surface geometries from modular components. (Courtesy Vlad Tenu)

MC/2* is composed of .04-thick laser-cut polypropylene and aluminum rivets. Each component is flexible, but when assembled the surface becomes rigid.

The triangular MC/2* is the latest iteration of London-based Romanian architect Vlad Tenu’s Minimal Complexities Series. With this prototype, he continues to explore the idea of creating minimal surface geometries from modular components—a thread that has been present throughout much of his work. This time, he has pushed the boundaries even further by whittling down the components.

The undulating structure, made of translucent laser-cut polypropylene and aluminum rivets, was first unveiled hanging from the ceiling of the Open House event for Digital Shoreditch Festival 2012. It was then exhibited months later, at the International Architecture and Design Showcase at the London Architecture Festival 2012. This prototype follows a natural progression in this ongoing series, which gained recognition when Tenu was named the winner of the second annual Tex-Fab Repeat Digital Fabrication Competition for his Minimal Complexity structure in 2011.

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The piece is made up of two types of modular components that Tenu generated through an algorithm in the software program Processing. (Courtesy Vlad Tenu)

  • Fabricator  Surface
  • Architect  Vlad Tenu
  • Location  London, UK
  • Date of Completion  2012
  • Material  .04-inch-thick polypropylene, aluminum rivets
  • Process  Processing, laser cutting, hand riveting

For this project, Tenu created an algorithm within software program Processing that dictates basic geometries on minimal surfaces. “The method that is behind this project is having a very flexible number of particles added and removed from the system that constantly updates itself into a minimal geometry, and that is what the algorithm originally refers to,” said Tenu.

Tenu fabricated Minimal Complexity from 16 modular variants. For MC/2*, he reduced that number to just two different components. Over the course of two afternoons, Tenu and colleagues from Surface assembled the 500 components into 250 modular regions. The entire structure, which can stand independently or be suspended from the ceiling, spans 10 feet in length, 7 feet in width, and 5 feet in height.

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The installation is 10 feet long, 7 feet wide, and 5 feet tall. (Courtesy Vlad Tenu)

While the individual pieces are light and malleable, made of .04-inch-thick laser-cut polypropylene, “Structurally the piece is very rigid and quite strong compared to the material which is very flexible. It can easily be self-supporting,” said Tenu.

“I am always trying to integrate ideas of very pragmatic applications,” said Tenu. “With these prototypes, the idea is to test systems and learn from the special properties of them.”

One Response to “Vlad Tenu Gets Down to the Bare Minimum”

  1. moreofthesame says:

    Boring, how many more of these mono material, lasercut projects do we need to see before we can put this all behind us?

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