PLASTIC Lab 6.1 Student workshop by VAV architects and MEDS students

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From VAV architects:

PLASTIC lab 6.1 PROJECT DESCRIPTION

NAME_ plastic lab 6.1
PLACE_ MEDS workshop. Ljubljana, Slovenia
MATERIAL_ river, willow trees, steps, perspex, tape
AREA_ 5,3 sqm
FUNCTION_ kaleidoscope

DESCRIPTION_
We selected a site, of tranquil serenity and calmness, where the fusion of a river scene encompassing the idealistic setting of ancient willow trees at river’s edge and a gentle flowing river proved interestingly challenging.

The challenge arose insofar as we sought to add to the perfection of the almost perfect. Our aim was through minimum juxtaposition, to enhance the scene by adding to and possibly improving on, through non obtrusive or intrusive interaction with which already existed.

For this reason our material selection needed be such that it would permit a gentle insertion with and into the surrounding environment. We therefore selected to use plastic. This transparent material, which its almost invisible characteristics permitted the fusion envisaged whilst at the same time permitted reflective and refractive traits. This essentially became the aim of the project. By using the reflective and transparent properties of the plastic we created a huge kaleidoscope which acted as a tool to explore and capture the views above, below and indeed all around the site.

The kaleidoscope canopy itself we cantilevered out over the gentle flowing river and also the existing steps down into the river bank. Our objective was to reinvent the function of these existing steps. Previously only used as access to the river bank, they now became a very functional a tiered seating area in which people could venture beneath the kaleidoscopic structure and be rewarded with the distorted views of the world above. The canopy structure was specifically designed to engage with people from above and below.

From above, views of the meandering glistening river bathed in sunlight are projected onto the canopy, as are the rolling waves as they pass below the plastic surface all being reflected along the plastic itself giving the canopy an almost liquid interpretation. On drawing closer to the canopy reflected distorted images of the people nestled below become visible. The juxtaposition of the existing idyllic setting onto the plastic becomes an almost surreal experience and leaves one questioning both the reality and the reflected. From below the views become inverted. Willow tree,drifting clouds, the protruding metal structure and passing people above, observed from beneath the structure become distorted through the plastic kaleidoscope composition.

Furthermore, the installation is in a constant flux of change. The time of day, seasonality and weather all become instruments of importance to and for the canopy. The transparency of the material ensures the canopy becomes nearly invisible on dull days and then glows and radiates when lit up by direct sunlight on bright days. At night the passing by traffic and surrounding street lights are projected across its surface and it was also intended that images and other media could be projected onto the canopy at night to create a surreal futuristic setting. The canopy has the capacity to evolve and become many stages interdependent on its many influences…

The canopy’s composition itself is composed solely from triangles, like the kaleidoscope. The pattern density and rhythm was composed to achieve two primary objectives. Firstly, as the canopy cantilevers out over the river the density decreases in relation to the distance from the structural supports. Secondly the methodology in which the observer forms his interaction with the kaleidoscope impacts on the pattern density.

As you draw close to the canopy and journey down to the seated area below the pattern becomes denser and you experience the effects of the kaleidoscope on a more micro level. But once passing beneath and taking ones seat under the canopy ,the pattern opens up and the play of views is experienced on a grander scale against the surrounding context.

The structural system implemented was chosen for its minimal impact on the surrounding environment. Once the project’s lifespan is deemed over, the project can be removed leaving no traces whatsoever behind. Four rectangular steel column sections were erected and secured using the existing steel structure of the fence and the Kaleidoscope canopy is hung off these pillars on steel chord similar to the principles used in cable stayed bridges.

ARCHITECTS_ VAV architects
Pablo Bolinches Vidal, Darragh Breathnach, Daria Leikina

COLLABORATORS_Valerian Andonis Portokalis, Xenia Stoumpou, Stephanie Misseri, Karola Przybyla, Piotr Klubinski, Chris Ranson, Celine Cassounet, Aliki Karanikolas, Alex Buckeridge, Patrick Keating Kearney, Janneke Earl, Matyas Svejdik, Martin Duba, Dule Kuzmanov, Anastasija Spasovskall, Elina Polychronidou

TIME_ 05-17 August, 2012

PHOTOS_ VAV & Piotr Klubinski, Karola Przybyla, Stephanie Misseri

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