Posts tagged with "Wood":
Ann Arbor–based Sift Studio and EADO are two of a handful of young firms experimenting with material, surface, and meaning. With the help of adventurous clients, they have been able to translate their work from research in the shops at Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan into sparkling spaces of tactile experience.
The Marq, a gastropub in Marquette, Michigan, on the northern coast of the Upper Peninsula, is detailed in uncanny materials that blur the line between artificial and natural. The collaboration between EADO and Sift , the Marq is an answer to how theoretical work can play out in real life. The result is a warm, textured space that is at once like nothing else in the small, out-of-the-way town, while still reminiscent of a cozy cabin.
Only steps away from the frigid shores of Lake Superior, the glowing restaurant is a stark contrast to the oft-blowing snow and cold of the Upper Peninsula. Entering through a door at the end of a set-back walkway, one ascends into the main bar and dining space, completing the separation from the elements outside. A more intimate seating area, featuring views over the hilly town, is lofted over the entrance. In this spot, the large custom light fixtures become more apparent. Bare-filament incandescent bulbs amplify the effect of the rich gold paint that covers most of the walls.
A technique dubbed by the team as “textural grafting” was used throughout the project, in which natural materials are de-familiarized through the application of paint, plastics, and resin—not everything is exactly as it seems. This plays out on the walls, bar, and furniture in the form of gold, glitter, and burnt lumber. The walls are patterned through the use of gloss on matte-gold paint. The pattern itself is derived from abstracted photographs of natural materials; this gives the walls a shiny artificial grain, a grafted texture. Nearby, a wooden wall is periodically interrupted by absences of material, an effect produced by the burning and charring of the lumbers’ ends, revealing another underlying gold surface. The wood itself is treated with a finish that gives it a smoothness that plays with the perception of the burnt ends, which are smooth and shiny.
Another step farther in, the long bar to the rear is first perceived as a simple, slick black material. On closer inspection, its materiality is put into question. While it appears as a monolithic mass, the saturated, thick finish produces a false effect of depth or wetness. This effect comes from the base material of wood, blackened by charring; its trick texture comes from a thick layer of resin. Glitter, suspended in the resin, sparkles in the low, luminous light of the space, completing the look.
It is not often that young designers are given such freedom to expand their research into built work. For small firms, though, it’s a necessary step in developing a critical practice that is also economically viable. In the case of the Marq, EADO and Sift were able enact practical investigations in the interest of reclaiming some architectural agency for texture and ornament.
Correction: In the original printing of this article in AN Interior #3, it was stated that Adam Fure and Ellie Abrons were members of Sift Studio. The project was, in fact, a collaboration between Sift, headed by Adam Fure, and EADO, headed by Ellie Abrons, which are separate studios. This article has been edited to reflect that.
The recent proliferation of oh-so-chic ramen joints in cities across the country can sometimes mask what it is really all about: The ramen. In Japan, this fast, fragrant, noodle-and-broth dish is often found in nondescript establishments, tucked away from the bustling street. At Orenchi Beyond, the restaurant chain’s first San Francisco location, the ramen is front and center, starting with a floating, open kitchen anchoring the 1,800-square-foot space where patrons can see chefs at work behind a row of large, boiling soup pots. Taking its cue from Japan’s street culture and indigenous craftsmanship, the restaurant, designed by local firm Craig Steely Architecture, fuses the unfussy, Japanese-style ramen shop with a West Coast design sensibility.
To maximize the outdoor connection and exploit the temperate San Francisco climate, principal and founder Craig Steely decided to knock down the existing facade, which originally stood flat across the front of the building, and push it back 12 feet to create what he describes as an “interstitial room” or an “engawa space” between the street and restaurant interior. “In Japan, there isn’t that luxury to have this whole space, and it seemed like such a perfect opportunity,” Steely explained. “It feels different from other restaurants in the city where there is a hard, demarcating line. Here it is really indoor-outdoor and welcoming—eating and drinking outside is nice and communal. It’s a real mix of private and public space.”
The prismlike facade, punctuated by a red glass door, is made of Sakura wood and quietly references Japanese woodworking. “It was an attempt to build upon a language of Japanese carpentry,” said Steely. “I took the idea of those details and built it in a way that appreciates or riffs on Japanese joinery without it being authentically Japanese.” The permeable storefront allows for customers to be served outside through the windows.
In typical Japanese style, the restaurant bears no sign—in many ways, the crowd congregating outside around a 4,000-pound Yuba River basalt rock is the unofficial signage. Of course, the line of sake bottles in the window is also a not-so-subtle clue as to what lies inside.
Painstaking attention was paid to the details to reflect and pay homage to Japanese traditions, from the visual iconography to the craftsmanship. The stool seating is based on sake barrels, the brackets and handles are made of elm branches by artist Kenji Hasegawa, and the interior wood is from Paul Discoe’s Joinery Structures, who has worked on projects in Japan for several decades.
Contrasting this otherwise muted space are a massive, candy-colored mural of a fractal bear by local artists Ricardo Richey and Chad Hasegawa and tables featuring paintings with imagery from Japanese myths and Yakuza films, such as a dragon in the form of ramen with its tail spelling out “Orenchi.” For a restaurant named the “Beyond,” this West-meets-farther-West space is wholly appropriate.
The idiom "can't see the wood for the trees" is rarely—if ever—applied in a literal sense. Researchers at Stockholm's KTH Royal Institute of Technology however, may have found a genuine excuse to do so. An article published in the American Chemical Society journal Biomacromolecules reveals that the research team has developed transparent wood.
According to Lars Berglund, a professor at Wallenberg Wood Science Center at KTH, this transparency is achieved by chemically removing the wood's lignin, a structural polymer found in the cell walls of plants that gives wood its brown coloring. It also stops up to 95% of light from passing through. "When the lignin is removed, the wood becomes beautifully white. But because wood isn't naturally transparent, we achieve that effect with some nanoscale tailoring," explained Berglund.
In a press release, KTH said this "nanoscale tailoring" involves impregnating the wood, or "white porous veneer substrate" as it's technically called, with a transparent polymer. As result, light can pass through the material more easily and the 'wood' becomes transparent.
The American Chemistry Society reports that the subsequent material is twice as strong as plexiglass. "It also offers excellent mechanical properties, including strength, toughness, low density, and low thermal conductivity," adds Berglund. However, there has been no publication on the materials properties pertaining to how it will react when exposed to water, fire, or extreme temperatures. Despite this, the case for see-through timber (pardon the pun) is clear. Berglund advocates for the material being used for windows and semitransparent facades, with the aim to "let light in but maintain privacy."
"Transparent wood is a good material for solar cells, since it's a low-cost, readily available, and renewable resource," Berglund continued. "This becomes particularly important in covering large surfaces with solar cells." Prior to the development, Berglund pointed out that transparent structures were yet to be considered for use as solar cells in buildings. Now he and KTH have set their sights on improving the transparency of the wood and producing the material in larger quantities.
An expanse of sustainable timber just clinched the Chicago Architecture Biennial's Lakefront Kiosk Competition
After the biennial, Chicago Horizon "will find a permanent home in Spring 2016, operating as a food and beverage vendor, as well as a new public space along the lakefront.During the Biennial three other kiosks will be installed along the lakefront. Details on those are due to be announced next week, but here are the preliminary project descriptions:
The Cent Pavilion, designed by Pezo von Ellrichshausen in collaboration with the Illinois Institute of Technology, is a forty-foot tower meant to convey silent and convoluted simplicity. Rock, the kiosk designed by Kunlé Adeyemi in collaboration with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago is a pop-up pavilion a public sculpture composed from the raw and historic limestone blocks that once protected the city’s shoreline. Summer Vault, designed by Paul Andersen of Independent Architecture and Paul Preissner of Paul Preissner Architects, in collaboration with the University of Illinois, Chicago, is a lakefront kiosk that consists of basic geometric shapes combined to create a freestanding hangout within the park.