Chris Bosse, Tobias Wallisser, Alexander Rieck
UNStudio / Ben van Berkel; Tobias Wallisser Caroline Bos with Maro Hemmerling, Hannes Pfau
UNStudio with Wenzel+Wenzel
Mimicking nature, in form and ambience, is a constantly recurring challenge.
The arctic glacier is the inspiration behind Architonic Lounge. The modular furniture was inspired in its basic form by well-known Escher patterns and drift-like ice flows. The pieces - individually or in casual groups – were placed under a canopy of light membranes and atmospheric projections.
The architects developed a methodology to virtually design the furniture and literally print it out into the real. It was a virtual exercise with physical form as the outcome. It broke new ground in realizing and materializing a usable product from unhinged creativity.
Informed by the static calculations of engineering consultants and CNC fabrication techniques, the aluminum and fabric canopy semi-encloses visitors to the lounge, creating a sensory experience that is at once open and closed. The light membranes demonstrate a state-of-the-art digital workflow that enables the generation of spaces out of the minimum of material in an extremely short time frame.
Using precise digital tools, the design for the furniture and stretched membrane umbrellas was sent digitally to one of Europe’s leading CNC-milling-engineering providers, to be shaped from off-cut foam blocks which were coated with a glossy paint and gradient to enhance the arctic concept. Media was projected onto the umbrellas, presenting information for the visitors and contributing to the atmosphere.
The whole lounge can be completely reused and modified for any purpose. The umbrella frame is crafted by 100% recyclable aluminum, and the lightweight stretchable membrane minimizes the material usage. The lounge seats, carved from off-cuts of industrial products, can be re-used for a diverse range of products, including packaging and fill material. Each lounge seat weighs 6kg, much less compared to the weight of a standard office chair, and the lounge is therefore easily and environmentally friendly to transport.
Although the exercise required being custom crafted by CNC milling machines and specially made laser cut membrane fabric, the cost can be optimized as all the different components lend themselves to standardizing and mass production.
The project defined new ground in the realization and creation of functional three-dimensional items generated through the use of state-of-the-art computer powered design and manufacturing tools.