Sail Away: The Granoff Collection

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Friday, April 12, 2013
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Goetz Composites fabricated the Granoff Collection of modular furniture for a new Diller, Scofidio + Renfro-designed building at Brown University. (courtesy Taylor McKenzie-Veal)

Fiber reinforced plastic forms the shell for a modular sofa unit, a chair, and a table that doubles as a stool.  (Taylor McKenzie-Veal)

Goetz Composites fabricated the Granoff Collection of modular furniture for a new Diller, Scofidio + Renfro-designed building at Brown University.

Brown University’s Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, completed by Diller, Scofidio + Renfro in 2010, was a direct result of the institution’s studies on how students and faculty interact today. Since most interdisciplinary exchanges were taking place in stairwells over classrooms, the architects designed a central escalier with five landings where the school’s population could meet among rotating student installations. One year after the building opened, the users realized that something was missing on the escalier: a place to sit. To rectify the situation, graduate students from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) collaborated with Brown alumni to design a unique collection of furniture named for the building’s patrons, Perry and Marty Granoff.

The alumni designers—Taylor McKenzie-Veal, Scot Bailey, Ian Stell, and Yumi Yoshida—crafted a line of modular furniture that includes a sofa, a chair, and a table that doubles as a stool. The line caters to local industry in materiality; namely the state’s maritime history. “The boating and composite expertise in Rhode Island has a long-standing history of excellence and [we] consulted and collaborated with a local composites and engineering firm while developing and prototyping the design,” said McKenzie-Veal.

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A Corian Carnival in SoHo

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Friday, April 5, 2013
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Associated Fabrication produced 34 bollard-shaped merchandise displays for Melissa Shoes in SoHo. (Melissa Hom)

Associated Fabrication produced 34 bollard-shaped merchandise displays. (Melissa Hom)

Brooklyn-based Associated Fabrication realized all the merchandise displays, benching, shelving, and cash wraps for Melissa Shoes in Pearl Gray Corian.

Before Kinky Boots came to Broadway, Melissa Shoes opened shop in SoHo. The Brazilian shoe brand, known for its use of brightly colored, recycled PVC material and collaborations with designers like Jason Wu, Vivienne Westwood, and Gareth Pugh, opened its first U.S. boutique in the states last year. With the help of local architecture firm Eight Inc. and Brooklyn-based Associated Fabrication, a distinguished aesthetic was achieved that supports the original Sao Paulo shop’s rotating art theme, but with a much cleaner slate of epoxy floors and Pearl Gray Corian bollard-like merchandise displays.

Working from two-dimensional drawings provided by the architects, Jeffrey Taras of Associated Fabrication used Rhino to model the 34 display platforms. Taras grouped the displays, which resemble blunted stalagmites, into categories of varying heights and configurations—single columns in four different heights, double columns in two groupings, and one cluster of three columns. Read More

Pyramid Scheming with Michigan Architecture Students

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Friday, March 29, 2013
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Four truncated pyramidal units make up Stalactites. (Harold-Sprague Solie and Geoffrey Salvatore)

Four truncated pyramidal units made from Bristol board make up Stalactites. (Harold-Sprague Solie and Geoffrey Salvatore)

Two students in the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning designed a textural, horizontal installation with complete transparency.

When Harold-Sprague Solie and Geoffrey Salvatore developed their decorative 12- by 5-foot ceiling installation Stalactites for a graduate course with Tsz Yan Ng at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning, the goal was to produce a design and fabrication process with an accompanying detailed set of documents. “We wanted to take the focus away from just the object at the end and go through a set of drawings to help [the viewer] understand the installation and bring him or her into it,” said Salvatore. He expressed the desire for complete transparency, since architecture tends to conceal the labor details, and explained that this process helps expose some of the hidden logic of the project.

So while the drawings began as aids for viewing and understanding the project, they became useful as Solie and Salvatore went through the design process. “[As we worked] we’d have these drawing to fall back on; to rediscover ideas, to catch mistakes and reveal things we’d have missed,” Solie said. Read More

Aidlin Darling’s Ribbed Canopy

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Friday, March 22, 2013
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Aidlin Darling Design's 46-foot-long canopy evokes plumes of smoke.

A 46-foot-long canopy of painted MDF evokes plumes of smoke in a San Francisco barbecue restaurant. (Matthew Millman Photography)

With the help of Laser Alliance and Chris French Metal, Aidlin Darling Design crafted a hanging ceiling canopy composed of 180 wooden ribs.

Wexler’s refined spin on farm-to-table barbecue in San Francisco’s financial district offers guests an authentically char-grilled dining experience, minus the smoldering cinders. Inspired by its progressive grill menu, local multidisciplinary firm Aidlin Darling Design dreamed up a 46-foot-long billowing ceiling canopy that hovers over the dining room like a plume of smoke. The feature also extends to the exterior, doubling as an awning over the main entrance that beckons passersby.

“The original design, based on an undulating plane of smoke, was designed in both AutoCad and Rhino, [using the] lofting feature that extrapolates geometry between two curves,” said Adrienne Swiatocha, project architect for Aidlin Darling Design. The canopy’s softly curving profiles at the exterior and at the end of the wall were hand-drawn. The architects used Rhino to amplify and adjust these curves throughout the center portion of the canopy. This varying amplitude echoes the way smoke dissipates across a room. “[Then], we sliced the three dimensional plane every few inches to generate a bunch of curved line profiles, and offset it by 5 inches to create a second, curving, thickened line.” Read More

Tietz-Baccon Dials Down The Volume in a Textural Chicago Office

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Friday, March 15, 2013
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The "fin" feature wall measures 10 feet by 160 feet. (Christopher Barrett)

Raw material was juxtaposed against lacquered MDF at the bottom that alternates for textural variation as well as durability. (Christopher Barrett)

Tietz-Baccon fabricated a 7-foot by 23-foot freestanding wall, and a 10-foot by 160-foot decorative wall for Enova’s Chicago offices.

As more and more companies embrace open workspaces that support collaborative and impromptu group work, acoustics are of utmost importance to employee productivity. To craft sound-absorbing feature walls for the Chicago offices of financial firm Enova, Brininstool + Lynch turned to fabrication studio Tietz-Baccon. Their six-person facility in Long Island City, New York, makes bespoke solutions for a variety of design-minded clients who appreciate—and ultimately benefit from—the founders’ architectural background: Erik Tietz and Andrew Baccon met as students at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.

“On the fabrication end, we take nonstandard projects and make them achievable by relying heavily on our digital capabilities,” Baccon said. “Brininstool + Lynch had a concept that was worked out very well and was looking for someone who could execute on a tight budget in a short period of time.” According to Baccon, the architects came to the fabricators with a family of shapes and a way of aggregating them, which was then applied to different materials, helping Tietz-Baccon deliver finished projects very close to the firm’s original requests. “There was good collaborative discussion, and a back-and-forth to tweak and bring the concept to realization. They didn’t have to compromise their idea that much.”

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Veyko’s Four Star Installation for Le Bernardin

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Friday, March 8, 2013
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The main metal screen in the dining room of Le Bernardin measures 32 1/2 by 11 1/2 feet. (Eduard Hueber)

Veyko’s custom metal screens are composed of 284 aluminum strips, each containing several varying 45-degree angles.

After 25 successful years, it was time to update the interior of Le Bernardin—a New York restaurant renowned for its constantly evolving menu. Owners Eric Ripert and Maguy Le Coze turned to New York-based architecture firm Bentel & Bentel Architects & Planners to design an interior that matched its trend-setting carte du jour. Part of the sophisticated new palette includes three metal screens that offer privacy and transparency in the main dining area, a new lounge, and the entry foyer. To craft the screens’ 284 undulating aluminum strips and frames, the architects turned to Veyko, an ornamental metal fabrication studio outside of Philadelphia.

Jumping off from a two dimensional drawing, Veyko owner Richard Goloveyko said the specific form of the screens developed organically through the design and fabrication process. “We spent a lot of time establishing our ability to bend each bar consistently,” he said. “One of the intricacies of the project was keeping the bends consistent to form a pattern; if a bend isn’t consistent it can start to read.”

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Vlad Tenu Gets Down to the Bare Minimum

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Friday, March 1, 2013
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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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Twaddle and Topocast Make Houston Textural

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Friday, February 22, 2013
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The tiles’ intricately curving geometry was derived from a photo of a power transformer. (Courtesy Topocast)

Topocast and Randy Twaddle used Rhino to produce a 3D version of a 2D pattern. The 3D model became a 3D print, which was used as a prototype for casting 65 sculptural tiles.

The entrance portal of Mirabeau B, a 14-unit residential complex in Houston’s Hyde Park neighborhood, is home to a 7-foot-high, 25-foot-long white wall of deeply textural tiles. Each tile is 20 inches square and features on its surface a three dimensional pattern that resembles nothing so much as the carapace of a Sci-Fi race of crab creatures. In fact, the pattern was derived from a photograph of a power transformer and its tangle of intersecting wires atop an electric light pole. It was worked into its current condition through a collaboration between print and textile artist Randy Twaddle and Dallas-based design and fabrication studio Topocast.

Twaddle had used this image to generate several of his designs for wall coverings and rugs and the like. In this instance, he manipulated the image until arriving at a pattern that could be repeated and assembled modularly in a system of tiles. Twaddle delivered the 2D pattern to Topocast, which began to develop a workable 3D version. “Most of the 3D was done in Rhino,” said Topocast founder Brad Bell. “We also used the Rhino plugin T-Splines to create the intricate curvature and geometries.”

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CTC Helps Piano Give LA’s Resnick Pavilion the Pompidou Treatment

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Friday, February 15, 2013
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The bright red cladding calls attention to the mechanical systems as the “lungs of the building.” (Courtesy CTC)

CTC realized Piano’s design concept by designing and fabricating a cladding system of a structural steel tube framework covered by extensive FRP panels.

For his design of the Resnick Pavilion at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Renzo Piano revived an idea he first explored with Richard Rogers in their design of the Centre George Pompidou in Paris: the idea of the building as an organic breathing machine. At Pompidou, the architects turned the museum’s mechanical systems into expressive elements, color coding the pipes, ducts, gantries, and escalators and pulling them to the exterior of the structure. At the Resnick Pavilion, Piano located the mechanical rooms and air handling units prominently outside the four corners of the 45,000-square-foot building, applying cladding to the ductwork in a bright red color used in circulation corridors throughout the LACMA campus.

Piano turned to Capastrano Beach, California-based design/build firm CTC (Creative Teknologies Corporation) to realize his design concept. “We took in data from three parties,” said CTC president Eric Adickes. “Piano gave us perspective sketches of how he wanted the air handling units to look, the air conditioning contractor, Acco, gave us Revit drawings, and the general contractor, MATT Construction, gave us 2D Autocad documents of the building and concrete foundation.” From those sources, CTC developed 3D models of a cladding system for the ventilation ducts using CATIA.

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INABA Creates a Cylindrical Beacon For A Norwegian Concert Hall

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Friday, February 8, 2013
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Cutaways in the cylinder reveal the LED lighting scheme. (Courtesy Ivan Brodey)

INABA’s inverted chandelier comprises a steel frame clad with aluminum tubes and activated by LEDs.

Both simple in its geometry and intriguing in its illumination, a massive new lighting installation in Stavanger, Norway, aims to activate the lobby of a concert hall and create a welcoming civic gesture. Designed by New York-based INABA, the cylindrical structure responds to its setting in a variety of ways. Cutaways in the cylinder reveal views out for visitors inside the concert hall and also reveal slices of the dynamic LED lighting inside the structure to people outside the concert hall on the plaza.

Jeffrey Inaba, principal of INABA, calls the installation Skylight, and refers to it as an “inverted chandelier.” The light is reflected within the rings, rather than out. The outside is coated in glossy white to reflect the warmer daylight and ambient light in the building. The design of Skylight is meant to function as a recognizable figure for the building, which was designed by Oslo-based Ratio Arkitekter.

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Marlon Blackwell Weaves Plywood At The Crystal Bridges Museum

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Friday, February 1, 2013
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(Timothy Hursley)

(Timothy Hursley)

Marlon Blackwell uses ribbed ceiling to evoke craft while mitigating contemporary challenges at Arkansas museum.

The setting for the gift shop at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art seems idyllic—a vast glass wall opens onto a entry courtyard that gives way to a placid pond reflecting the Ozarks landscape. But to create a design for the 3,100 square-foot space in Bentonville, Arkansas, architect Marlon Blackwell had to overcome multiple hurdles. The first: a thicket of concrete columns supporting the green roof of the Moshe Safdie-designed building. Next: the west-facing glass wall, which made heat gain an issue. And finally: the very small budget (the total project cost was $644,000).

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Ellipses Collide in Mathematically-Inspired Installation at the University of Oregon

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Friday, January 25, 2013
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Derived from geometries created between several floating ellipses, SubDivided makes a nod to the mathematics department it occupies. (Courtesy Brooks Dierdorff)

Derived from geometries created between several floating ellipses, SubDivided makes a nod to the mathematics department it occupies. (Courtesy Brooks Dierdorff)

SubDivided provides a unifying element in Fenton Hall’s three-story atrium, tying each level together visually.

In December 2012, the University of Oregon completed a renovation of Fenton Hall (1904), which has been home to the mathematics department for the past 35 years. In addition to sprucing up the interior and upgrading the mechanical systems, the institution hosted an open competition for the design of an installation to hang in the building’s atrium. Out of roughly 200 initial applicants three were shortlisted, and of those the university selected a design by Atlanta-based architect Vokan Alkanoglu. Composed of 550 uniquely shaped aluminum sheets, the 14-foot-high by 10-foot-long by 4 ½-foot-wide sculptural form is derived from the curving geometry created by several opposed ellipses—a nod to the discipline that calls Fenton Hall home.

“We wanted to create something that would be visible on all three floors of the atrium to connect the levels and create flow in the space,” said Alkanoglu. “We also wanted to have an interior to the piece, so that you could see inside and outside, to give it a real sense of three dimensionality.”

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