Like many of their fellow student exhibitors in the Ventura Lambrate district (and elsewhere), the eight Master of Interior Architecture & Retail Design candidates at Rotterdam's Piet Zwaart Institute made a strong showing in Milan. The exhibition, entitled "FABRIKAAT," marked the culmination of an intensive three-month design studio that took the garden as a broad theme for exploring traditional technique and craft.
FABRIKAAT is an exhibition at Ventura Lambrate 2012 investigating the re-emerging role of the garden through a "research through making" approach to design and craft. In a digitally saturated world, this body of work celebrates and promotes research, ideas and the nuances of making by hand.
Program Director Alex Suarez noted that, even as each of the four student pairs focused on one of the broad categories of fabrication methods—molding, knitting/weaving, folding/bending and cutting/scoring—each team was encouraged to explore the historical significance and evolution of these through experimentation.
Hence, the extensive "making-of" component to the exhibition, including various iterations of the bricks and woven textiles in particular, as well as a video accompaniment for each project, highlighting the process as much as the final product, if not more so.
Hell, even the promo clip of the logo is nicely executed:
Check out all of the videos (which have no audio as far as I can tell) and descriptions in one place after the jump, plus many more photos on the project pages on the Fabrikaat microsite.
Micaela Nardella & Oana Tudose - Brick Biotope
Brick Biotope is a set of brick typologies designed as a natural living environment for birds. It addresses the disappearance of the House Sparrow in the Netherlands and the need for nature to reclaim the built environment. The design is contextualized in traditional red brick façades synonymous with traditional Dutch architecture.
The House Sparrow often finds shelter in wall cracks. Brick Biotope considers this natural phenomenon, creating a bird-friendly brick that can be applied to a standard brick wall. The design allows plants and wildlife to coexist with architecture, forming unexpected life patterns. In addition, incorporating Brick Biotope into walls creates an alternative reading to standard masonry wall construction.
The materials and fabrication process for Brick Biotope are motivated by the practice of using natural resources, such as sand and soil, to shape the built environment. Sand is traditionally used in sand-cast molding techniques, however the project's research explored the potential of utilizing the malleability of the material. The sand, acting as a molding agent, is poured together with plaster and removed by hand after solidification. The shapes form unique profiles defined by voids and layers of plaster, creating useful programmable shapes within a standard brick mold.
Brick Biotope incorporates the four necessary factors for a living environment to become a wild animal's habitat: space, food, shelter and water accessibility. These factors are all present in the set of brick typologies—water, nesting and feeding—each form changing based on the function it encompasses. They work together to create new habitats for the House Sparrow.
Angelique Etman & Marie Gade-Lundlie - Undercover
Undercover is a flexible cocoon-like furniture unit for urban domestic gardens, and the technique of crocheting was researched and explored as a means of fabrication.
The project is inspired by how people cover themselves with hats, veils, hoods, umbrellas, sunglasses, etc. to gain privacy and/or to seek shelter from the elements. Undercover's cocoon-like design can be adjusted in several ways, allowing the user to play with levels of privacy and enclosure. The unit's suspended installation allows it to be placed in various urban conditions, protecting users from exterior weather elements.
During the initial research, traditional fabric-structure techniques such as knitting, weaving, crocheting and braiding were explored. The research question became, how can traditional two-dimensional fabrics become a three-dimensional applied object? Subsequently, experiments were carried out with a variety of techniques and materials, paired with fabric hardeners, to achieve three-dimensional environments.
The research ultimately led to the fabrication of Undercover, which uses a crochet of exaggerated "threads" of foam wrapped in cotton fabric. The exterior of the crocheted object is hardened, becoming the structural outer shell that provides support to the softer interior layers. The design is a mix of hard and soft surfaces, and fixed and flexible structures that challenges the traditional use of crochet while providing a novel addition to urban domestic gardens.
Mariann Hildal & Milda Liubinskaite - HERB2
HERB2 is a flexible partition wall, which functions as an indoor herb garden, allowing users to create separate living spaces and to grow plants year round.
HERB2 responds to the scarcity of garden space in interior living spaces in the Netherlands, by creating an indoor vertical garden that also functions as a partition wall.
The form of HERB2 is derived from research into versatile folding techniques. This led to the design of a series of interconnected cubical units, made of plywood and Plexiglas, that can rotate up to 90 degrees to create a variety of void patterns. Each cube contains a small terrarium visible through its transparent Plexiglas component. The interconnected cubes form a flexible structure, and by sliding the Plexiglas in and out via tracks in the wood it regulates the atmospheric conditions for the growth of the herbs.
A manual pull-up mechanism allows the creation of separate environments, both visually and functionally. When HERB2 is closed, it serves as an herb terrarium with a small eco-climate that incorporates adequate temperature control and a LED lighting system. HERB2 merely needs to be pulled open to control light exposure and ventilation or to pick the herbs. The terrarium is also designed to recycle humidity to provide moisture for the soil.
The materials for HERB2 are carefully considered. The Plexiglas and pine plywood are partially recycled, while LED lighting is integrated at the bottom of each cube to create a luminous atmosphere, as well as provide the terrarium with a low-energy light source. The herbs grow in custom-made planter bags made from water resistant nylon fabric. When the plants are fully-grown, the bags can easily be removed and relocated.
Anette Backe & Dominika Dyminska - Blindfolded
Blindfolded is a wooden, layered structure that functions as a partition wall or window blind. The visually playful system provides various optical experiences while acting as a barrier to wind, sun and/or rain, depending on its position.
The design inspiration of Blindfolded is based on an accordion structure. Therefore it is inherently flexible, stretching and compressing to work as a vertical blind or partition wall, while easily fitting into various sized spaces.
Image courtesy of Fabrikaat
The system's layers are connected through slip-cuts, which allow individual pieces to slide in and out. The modularity of the system enables the user to adjust the amount of wind, daylight or rain that seeps through. When used as a sunshade, the filtered light creates ephemeral patterns that move through a space. Individual layers can also be added or removed, further customizing the modular sliding system.
The product is made from Okoume veneer sheets that are adhered to both sides of a durable nylon fabric. The gap between the veneer layers enables the structure to be folded by pulling a simple string up or down. The veneers are stained with a dark varnish and coated with a waterproof lacquer that makes the product suitable for outdoor use. The design can be installed on balconies or patios and it can also serve as a space divider.