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THE MATTER OF INTIMACY

Workshop, ADSL Week
Artesis Hogeschool Antwerpen
Antwerp, Belgium, 2008

coordinators: Aleksandra Jaeschke, Andrea Di Stefano

WORKSHOP BRIEF:

One day I went to a factory producing socks and tights to ask them whether they could make a light shade for me. We don't make light shades they answered. And I said: you'll see that you will! (Bruno Munari)

Like material fetishists, we will dive into the intimate materiality of socks and tights to let them express their latent desires. Oscillating between architecture and fashion we will unravel the sex appeal of the inorganic. Through soft models and hard diagrams we will sample across variations in membranes behaviour in order to abstract emerging performative patterns and develop trans-scalar structural prototypes.

sampling: The process of taking a sample of a signal at evenly spaced intervals of time in order to convert an analog signal into a digital representation. 

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The workshop focused on membranes as both an exploration on form finding (a trans-scalar design method) and as an investigation of the intimate materiality of different types of existing fabrics.
These two apparently contradictory aspects of the research, the first being free from any scalar constraint, the second being constrained to a small scale material organization, have been understood as continuous and highly correlated.
The workshop unfolded a bottom up design approach.
Experimenting with diverse types of textiles used in the production of socks and tights, we investigated what a material can do or more appropriately what it wants to do.
We followed, resisted, amplified declinations of matter in order to trigger emergent performative patterns.
Rather than applying a material to a predefined design, through various manipulation we investigated the given materials and tested them in different manners, triggering their tendency to organize themselves in more complex arrangements. We opportunistically explored the emerging functional potential of each of them spanning across various scales.
We recorded the observed effects through photographs and diagrams to first abstract parameters and to describe the developed systems and then to understand the discovered effects and their relationship to the parameters of the set-up.
We worked in four groups investigating four different fabrics and eventually developing four systems suggesting applications spanning across scales


PROJECTS

The 3D FABRIC group worked with a complex woven and knitted type of material exploring its structural organization. We developed a range of basic cells for a three dimensional fabric following the structural principles of the material itself. Eventually we developed two basic types of cells. The first being a closed one interconnected along the diagonals of each individual membrane and the second a flexible cell allowing for differential stretching. This was achieved using a multi-axial type of open stitching.
The BRIDGING MEMBRANE group explored a fishnet-type of fabric concentrating on both visual effects such as changes in moiré and Fibonacci patterns, and on form finding experiments in order to develop an adaptable yet robust structure. We developed an adaptable bridge that would be attached to two given existing buildings. While providing a new pedestrian connection, the membrane structural pattern would enhance the user experience.
The INTERLOCKING MEMBRANES group investigated a tightly woven but regularly perforated fabric testing it as a potential device to introduce, distribute and control natural light in a given deep enclosed space. The project we propose is a system of interlocked inhabitable shafts for a generic airport hall. Through cylindrical membranes that are adaptable to diverse roof structures, the system generates clusters of interconnected suspended lounges and provides light.
The INTERLACING CANOPY group worked with a regularly woven, homogenous fabric and tested cutting and stitching techniques in order to connect a number of patches and develop a large interlaced canopy. The design we developed provides an articulated shadow cast on the surface of a given plaza. Due to the reflection of light created by the screen-like configuration of the patches, while casting shadows the canopy also ensures a high degree of luminance to the surroundings.












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