Search results for "neri oxman"

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Reactions to a Complex World

Experience fear and love in London's new Design Museum, courtesy Sam Jacob Studio

When the new Design Museum in Kensington Gardens, London opened to the public on the November 24th, many aesthetically astute Brits flocked to the new "palace of culture." There they found the post-war (landmarked) relic, originally designed for the Commonwealth Institute by Robert Matthew Johnson-Marshall & Partners and opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1962, reincarnated and open once again. However, despite director of the museum Deyan Sudjic recruiting the likes of John Pawson and OMA for the renovation, the reaction to the $104 million museum has been mixed. The exhibitions inside, though, have enjoyed a much warmer reception. The inaugural exhibit, Fear And Love: Reactions to a Complex World features exhibition design by Sam Jacob Studio and eleven diverse installations from the likes of Andrés Jaque, Neri Oxman, and OMA/AMO.

“To design the first show at the new Design Museum was both an honor and a challenge—a way to mark a new era in London’s design culture," said Jacob. "The subject of Fear and Love was always more of a mood than a statement. Our design attempts to embody this ambivalence in a way that adds mystery and imagination.”

The London-based designer has employed a 623-foot-long pleated felt curtain that articulates the installation spaces and acts as a fluid circulatory device as it meanders through the rectangular exhibition area. With breaks interspersed throughout the curtain trail, views across and into each of the installations are created, opening up what would be tight corners to form a coherent space.

While this material carries warmth with it on its journey through Fear And Love, the use of gray translucent PVC bares the opposite (and perhaps even hints at love in another sense). Working with graphic designers OK-RM, signage within Fear And Love displays information on a series of freestanding, bent steel frames of which have been given a protective, passivated finish, giving a modern and iridescent look. This aesthetic is furthered through a neon two-way mirror totem that displays the words "FEAR" and "LOVE" to those passing by the exhibition inside the museum.

Justin McGuirk, curator of Fear And Love and chief curator at the Design Museum, said: “Sam Jacob Studio’s exhibition design was central to setting the mood of Fear and Love: it creates a dream-like space that, in the most elegant way, heightens the sense of uncertainty that the exhibition explores.”

Meanwhile, Chloë Leen, who spearheaded the project for Sam Jacob Studio commented: “It has been a great privilege to work with 11 designers at the forefront of shaping contemporary practice. Our design creates a unifying experience, choreographing these varied complex ideas and installations, while the spaces and moods of the exhibition design give each a distinct quality. This duality was at the heart of the de-sign challenge that the museum’s curatorial position presented.” Fear and Love runs through April 23, 2017.
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Required Reading

Our AIA Convention 2016 reader
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Neri Oxman
The Silk Pavilion.
Steven Keating

The Architecture League of New York has picked the winners of its annual Emerging Voices Awards. Each the year the League chooses eight practitioners from the United States, Canada, and Mexico through an invited, juried portfolio competition. This year's winners include three firms from Mexico. The rest are based on the East Coast of the U.S. The winners will be giving lectures about their work in New York City throughout the month of March.

Neri Oxman

Cambridge, MA

Today, there are many ways to become a professional architect, from interning in large practices, to starting your own boutique office, or teaching design in a university or institute. The Israeli, British, and MIT–educated Neri Oxman has chosen this last path as a way into the profession, one she hopes will eventually allow her the opportunity to build. Perhaps the major attraction of the university route (in addition to a regular paycheck) is the chance to focus intently on theoretical and practical design issues and to work collaboratively with students on refining ideas about architecture. Oxman is currently Sony Corporation Career Development Professor and Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT, where she directs a studio engaged in what she calls Material Ecology. It focuses on “computation, fabrication, and matter as inseparable and harmonized dimensions of design.” When the studio started it focused on models taken from nature for their form generation, which allowed them to think of issues like sustainability as integral to design, not as external processes. A tree, Oxman claims, “doesn’t distinguish between its branching patterns, how much water transpires through its leaves and the amount of carbon dioxide it exchanges with the atmosphere.” Taking this as a model for fabrication gives the studio the conceptual framework to unify computation, digital fabrication, and the material itself as inseparable and harmonized dimensions.

Steven Keating

The Material Ecology studio is concerned not just with craft and computation, but also with esthetics. “The moment we generate a choice between beauty and utility is the moment we compromise our calling as designers,” said Oxman. This belief in technology is common in the history of MIT. In the past, the issue of combining design with material was achieved through craft and labor. Digital fabrication allows, in Oxman’s words, the “automation of large-scale geometrically complex and materially sophisticated processes.” As an example of this, she pointed to CNC weaving of carbon-fiber structures or 6-axes variable density concrete printing, which, she said, “combine the ability to tailor material properties inherent in craft with the power of programming and automation in architectural scales.”

Gemini, Acoustic Chaise.
Michel figuet

All great inventions and great works of art involve a unique way of seeing, perceiving, and expressing the world around us. Oxman’s commitment to digital fabrication is at the heart of “a new age where technique and expression unite.” She happily confirmed that “it is very calm inside the eye of the storm; there is stillness inside a revolution. You can’t afford to miss it even if this means you’re going to have to wait a while before you can build a skyscraper.” Fortunately, the digital images of Oxman’s projects are a joy to behold, so we do not have to wait for her to build with bricks and mortar.

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The New Guard: The Architectural League of New York announces its 2015 Emerging Voices
The Architectural League's Emerging Voices lecture series, now in its 30th year, has reliably identified important new talent through a juried selection process. This year's group reflects a number of important currents in contemporary practice in North America. In recent years, a number of young Mexican firms have been showcased, and this year's group includes three practices, Ambrosi Etchegaray, Atelier ARS, and CC Arquitectos, which represent that country's proud tradition of stark and rooted modernism. Boston, long seen as conservative place to work, is represented by two young firms, Merge Architects, and Neri Oxman. A can-do pragmatism and urbanistic grit informs Philadelphia's ISA, and the pioneering digital designers Aranda/Lasch, based in New York and Tucson, are rapidly moving from installations and furniture to significant freestanding buildings. The emergence of landscape architecture and landscape urbanism is reflected in the design and research of Miami's Studio Roberto Rovira. For a full schedule of the Emerging Voices lecture series, visit the League's website. Full profiles of each firm will be available in the March East Coast edition of AN.
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MIT Media Lab Enlists 6,500 Silkworms to 3D Print a Dome Pavilion
A new pavilion created by the Mediated Matter research group at MIT’s Media Lab explores the intersection between material technology, computation, and biological and digital fabrication on an architectural scale. Inspired by the silkworm’s ability to create a 3D cocoon out of a single, 1 km thread, a team of researchers led by architect Neri Oxman created a fibrous, CNC-fabricated scaffold made from 26 polygonal panels and laid out in silk thread. They then let loose 6,500 silkworms onto the frame to fill in the gaps and reinforce the structure. The structure’s silk armature was created by an algorithm, based on site-specific solar trajectories and research on the worms’ behavior, which was then built upon by the worms’ on-site reaction to the structure’s geometries and environmental factors, including heat, light, and density. The worms were attracted to darker and denser areas, leaving a large aperture in the pavilion’s southeast side and producing some areas thicker than others. Mediated Matter’s research with the Silk Pavilion opens up new possibilities for the creation of functionally graded material objects (think the varied, porous interior of bone as opposed to the homogeneity of concrete), fibrous systems for the construction of habitable space, and bio-synthetic structures that are capable of interacting with heir environments. Like their (ideal) mechanical counterparts, these small, squishy 3D-printers can self-replicate. While the silkworms were removed from the pavilion before they could transform into moths, once they metamorphose, those 6,500 grubs could produce 1.5 million more, which in turn could construct 250 additional pavilions.