Posts tagged with "The Principals":

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Seth Rogan and other celebs pair with designers for unique NYCxDesign pieces

Digital magazine Sight Unseen has paired 13 celebrities from film, fashion, and art with 13 interior and furniture designers to create one-of-a-kind objects for this year’s New York Design Week (NYCxDESIGN). Each of the items are available for sale, with the proceeds going to benefit a charity of the pair’s choosing. The collaboration is part of Sight Unseen’s fifth annual OFFSITE fair, which will be spread out across 13 separate venues across downtown Manhattan between May 17 and May 20. The collection, dubbed Field Studies, will anchor the fair’s central hub at 201 Mulberry Street. “The idea was to connect creatives across disciplinary boundaries so they could search for commonalities in their practices and discover what unexpected ideas might result,” said Sight Unseen in a statement. Contemporary design studio Bower and actor Seth Rogan have created a massive mirror inspired by “shared influences  —  midcentury  furniture,  street  art,  and  the  colors  of  1980s  pop  culture.” The six-foot-tall mirror is actually composed of glass strips positioned on top of a gradient painting, lending the illusion of a three-dimensional globe. Artist and designer Christopher Stuart and artist Julia Dault have produced a circular, backlit sconce that seemingly “peels” away from the wall it’s attached to, revealing a soft glow at the corner. Designer Fernando Mastrangelo and actor Boyd Holbrook have created a set of planters carved from massive lumps of coal, in reference to Holbrook’s father, a Kentucky coal miner. Creative consulting and interior design firm Wall for Apricots and actor Jason Schwartzman have designed a postmodern pastel pink-and-gold piano with matching stool. The team wrapped a classic 1970s Hohner Clavinet Pianet keyboard inside of a plywood console table to completely disguise the instrument within. Furniture and lighting designer Kelly Wearstler and fashion blogger Aimee Song have put together a shaggy sitting stool made from dyed goat hair, with brass legs ending in plunger-like red marble feet. Designer Harry Nuriev and artist Liam Gillick have fabricated a series of rectangular floor lamps that integrate stainless steel with the glass panels that Gillick is known for. Furniture studio Ladies & Gentlemen Studio and fashion designers Kaarem have encased custom Kaarem fabric swatches in resin to create a series of vases. Architect Drew Seskunas of The Principals and musician Angel Olsen have built a machine that translates sound waves into wax forms. The resultant shapes were then used to cast unique aluminum candlesticks. Rafael de Cárdenas of Architecture at Large and fashion stylist Mel Ottenberg have translated the ribbed structural details of furniture into three quilts, each made of luxury materials like merino and suede. Designer Oliver Haslegrave of Home Studios and stylist Natasha Royt have reinterpreted the suit stand for the modern age, including stratifying different types of marble into the cubic base. Interior designer Kelly Behun and fashion designer Narciso Rodriguez have put together a sculptural, asymmetric lounge chair that forces its occupant into an unfamiliar situation where they need to rebalance themselves. Glass designer Thaddeus Wolfe and chef Ignacio Mattos have designed a hand-blown glass cake stand that resembles a hunk of ice. The glass is embedded with concave lenses, which appear to minimize whatever’s placed inside the case. Painter Andrew Kuo provided an artwork and furniture maker Tyler Hays of BDDW took the opportunity to turn it into a puzzle. The pieces and lettering within are obscured by Kuo’s design for an added level of difficulty. All 13 pieces are available for sale here.
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The Principals Make Music with Mylar

Collaborative installation translates sound into motion.

When Brooklyn-based design and fabrication studio The Principals began collaborating with musician Dev Hynes on Ancient Chaos, a sound reactive installation commissioned by speaker company Sonos, they had only a vague sense of the project's goals. "The general concept was that we wanted to create an architecture that was fluid like sound, and to create sounds that were architectural," said co-founder Seskunas. "We wanted to have an installation that was both of those things but neither—a very ephemeral, nebulous concept of what sound and architecture could be." Then Seskunas went surfing with a friend, and, in between sets, found himself mesmerized by the ever-changing play of sunlight on the ocean. "Could we create an architecture that had this quality to it?" he questioned. Constructed from 6,000 individual pieces of Mylar set in motion by high-powered stepper motors, Ancient Chaos answers Seskunas' question in the affirmative. The installation, which debuted at New York's Neuehouse last year, is a moving meditation on the relationship between sound and space. Over the course of a two-month ideas exchange with Hynes, who composed an original piece for the installation and performed at its opening, The Principals started by sketching and creating photo collages of bodies of water. They then revisited a mechanical system developed for an earlier project, which involved assembling flat pieces of paper into an accordion panel. When suspended and set in motion, the panel created gradient waves and apertures that closed and opened. But while the primary focus of the earlier installation had been the apertures, for Ancient Chaos "we wanted to focus on the surface quality [of the form], and to highlight different two-dimensional curvatures," said Seskunas. They also swapped out the paper for silver-coated Mylar, which—while difficult to obtain in the quantities and thickness the designers required—offered an intriguing combination of reflectiveness and stiffness.
  • Fabricator The Principals
  • Designers The Principals with Dev Hynes
  • Location New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA
  • Date of Completion 2014
  • Material silver-coated Mylar, Popco acrylic fasteners, aluminum, frequency analyzers, stepper motors, wires, circuit boards
  • Process sketching, Rhino, Autodesk Inventor, die cutting, fastening, welding, grinding, hanging, wiring
Site constraints (Neuehouse is a private club, to which the designers had only limited access) required The Principals to design and build a free-standing aluminum support system for the 8-foot by 36-foot canopy. Working in Rhino and Autodesk Inventor, "we created a pretty intricate structure," said Seskunas. "We had a complicated digital model for each part." They unitized the Mylar form into 4-foot by 8-foot panels, each of which was assembled from thousands of die-cut Mylar pieces and transparent Popco fasteners. To translate Hynes' music into motion, The Principals attached a series of stepper motors to the top of the installation. The motors are in turn connected to a frequency analyzer that splits the sound into seven frequencies. When a particular frequency occurs, a custom program directs motors on the corresponding area of the canopy to oscillate. A boom mic picks up ambient sound, which is likewise split and transformed into directions for the stepper motors. "You see the speed and oscillations" across the installation, said Seskunas. "It pulls apart the threads of the sound, and manifests them in movement." One of the most striking features of the installation (which has since been relocated to Sonos' permanent studio in Los Angeles) is also one of the less choreographed. Static lights above the moving canopy shine down through the transparent acrylic fasteners to create an effect not unlike that Seskunas witnessed from his surfboard. "It's beautiful how they transmit light," he said of the fasteners. "We were really excited about that."
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'Cosmic Quilt' Makes Waves In Interactive Architecture


Experimental systems and new materials break ground in an untapped field of architecture

Earlier this month, Brooklyn-based design practice The Principals installed Wave Dilfert, an interactive "light-sensitive barrel vault" created for The Feast, a social innovation conference that took place this year in Essex Street Market. With their unique trifecta of talents, the founders of The Principals—Christopher Williams, a metal fabricator, Charles Constantine, an industrial designer, and Drew Seskuras, an architect—seem poised to lead the pack of interactive environmental architects. Interactive design is a quickly growing field thanks to events like do-it-yourself festival Maker Faire and the proliferation of open-source electronics prototyping platforms like Arduino. But before The Principals dominate the design-build world, we wanted to revisit the installation that caught everyone's eye at NY Design Week: Cosmic Quilt.
  • Fabricator  The Principals
  • Designer  The Principals
  • Location  New York, NY
  • Date of Completion  May, 2012
  • Materials  Coated paper, plastic fasteners, aluminum, light sensors
  • Process  Welding, weaving, digital design (Rhino, AutoCAD, Solidworx, Arduino code-writing)
Cosmic Quilt began as an architectural research project, which The Principals opened up to students at the Art Institute of New York. "The response was a bit overwhelming," said Seskunas. "Interactive design isn't even a subject at the Art Institute, but the desire of the students to learn about it was really staggering." The Principals first led their group of eager students in researching different kinds of paper, a material they chose not only for its cost effectiveness, but because small, lightweight, interlocking pieces of paper facilitate the kind of free movement they were aiming for. There are 3,000 4x4-inch squares in all, which are coated for durability, die-cut into two patterns, and woven into four 4x8-foot quilts with small plastic fasteners that attach at the corners. Seskunas can't divulge the materials in the coating because it's patent pending, but as far as the pattern is concerned, "we were inspired by coats of armor, scale patterns on reptiles, and catenary curves," he said. "The main problem to solve was how to achieve a gradient curve that could simultaneously increase light flow, but using no more than two different pieces. Our aim was to achieve maximum complexity with a minimum amount of dissimilar parts." Cosmic Quilt - REALIZED from The Principals on Vimeo. Since they have the facilities to fabricate and construct everything in their Greenpoint, studio, Seskunas, Williams, and Constantine had the luxury of going back and forth between building and digital design throughout the entire process. After they built a working scale model, The Principals fabricated the full-size quilts and attached them to a welded aluminum frame through which they wove the wiring and sensors. They then mounted the assembly to the ceiling. The quilt is attached to hi-torque stepper motors controlled by a series of Arduinos equipped with light sensors that read the shadows of people walking underneath. The Principals wrote an Arduino code that transmits that information to motors, resulting in the undulating movements of the quilt. "This, in turn, also affects the changes in light patterns, creating a feedback loop in which the quilt can communicate with the people under it as well as with itself," Seskunas said. The Principals also hid sensors along the floor and hung them from the ceiling along with instructions for visitors explaining how their physical movement would impact the shape of the quilt. "We experiment with each project on where to put the sensors," Seskunas said. "Sometimes people want to know where they are and sometimes they're content to not be aware how exactly they are affecting the installation. In this case we decided to do both." "This is a new territory for architects and designers, so each time we have the opportunity to do something like this we observe how people react, what the effect on them is, what they get and don't get, and how the feeling in the space changes," Seskunas continued. For their latest installation, Wave Dilfert, The Principals created a more immersive architectural space with technology similar to that used in Cosmic Quilt, but with a new skin that can work on X, Y, and Z axes. "The difference of feeling in the space was really powerful. As you walked through it the space either contracted or expanded, and the reaction of the people who experienced it was amazing," he said. As The Principals' work continues to grow in scale, user experience, and technological fabrication, Seskunas said they're continually inspired by the "unbounded consequences" referenced by Walter Benjamin in The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction: "The orientation of reality toward the masses and of the masses toward reality is a process of unbounded consequence not only for thought but also for the ways we see things." The Principals aren't sure where their research will take them, but whether it's for a weekend-long installation or a building skin, you can be certain the user will play an exciting part in its ultimate configuration.