01. A CONVERSATION OF SPACE
Tutor: Alice Lewis, Australia
We are human. Through the process of being we generate space and spatial change. The physical form of our own bodies combined with our individual psychologies corroborates the surrounding built metropolis. Each and every form subconsciously affects and alters the existence of that which is adjacent to everything else. The contemporary landscape is in equal parts formed by human occupation as well as the built mass of urbanity. We operate together in a repercussive, tangible network of parts to forge one coherent organism. We are the city.
‘A Conversation of Space’ documents a short exploration into the modalities of the human forms (1) occupation of the built metropolis. It delves into the effect of our formal presence on the urban landscape. As a result, the research also touches on the possibility of employing a corroborative understanding within spatial design.
The work and exploration itself was executed as a design workshop at the 2012 Meeting of European Design Students in Ljubljana, Slovenia earlier this year. Over a period of ten days, a group of ten students hailing from a range of European universities and design-based disciplines were asked to conceptualize, construct and test a series of garments that operated as spatial research tools. Each garment explored a different aspect of how the human form occupies and affects space, acting as a tangible, malleable machine to generate knowledge on a one-to-one body scale. Over the designated ten day period the research team developed three garments; all able to be worn and all addressing the design criteria. The garments were tested within the streets of Ljubljana. It was a contemporary context within an ancient metropolis. These garments were intended not as landscapes themselves, but as research tools – repercussive extensions of the human form. Through methods of exaggeration and subtraction the garments accentuated the bodies’ effect on space, on other bodies and on the contemporary city.
(1) For the purposes of this research ‘human form’ is used to describe the physical form of a human body, its recurrent movements and its individual psychology.
Exploration 01.1: Excess space
Excessive Space looks at the true physical area taken up by the human body, as well as the residual space assigned to the human form through the socially accepted movement of limbs and self. The garment constructed to research this mode of occupation operates through two distinct phases:
The first phase saw the garment as a restricting piece. The wearer was only offered the movement of their own legs while the arms, back, neck and head were set firmly in position. This allowed the body in question and surrounding spectators an understanding of the true impression of the solid body form on the urban space. As the body began to move – an action triggered by the instinctual use of the arms and the ability to bend and shift it’s form through all joints, the stitching that held the body so taut gradually gave way and so entered phase two.
Phase two of the Excessive Space research machine saw nets of fabric fall from the sleeves, effectively creating a loose wing-like structure between each arm and rib cage. The loose, trailing structure of the fabric pulled at the body and floated on the air. It extended the body form to incorporate those areas that are not physically carved but that are often socially accepted as being within to a particular body space.
Through a progressive process of elimination and exaggeration embodied in one garment, the notion of excessive space was clearly defined. Both the wearer and the observers could clearly make out the progressive change of space, as well as the recurring spatial effect the body had on the surrounding context.
Exploration 01.2: Personal space
Personal Space can be solitary or interactive relative to our occupation in relation to other bodies. This garment explores notions of proximity, inclusion and solidarity within the public realm. Through a series of triangulated pyramids that pack neatly into a back-pack, the wearer initially has complete governance over the modality of the garment itself. As the garment expands, through the bodies’ intervention, it becomes almost a necessity to incorporate other bodies for physical support. This instigates different modes of social interaction and proximities between individual bodies, thus exploring the effect of the human form on other similar forms as well back onto its own.
Through the process of wearing, this garment also explores the notions of ‘public’ and ‘private’ within the busy urban context. The creation of a tangible yet partially rigid structure that can be set up as a tent-like structure lets one insert a private space into the public realm. This then generates information in relation to ownership of space, how ownership might be achieved and how this opportunity might be employed within spatial design.
Exploration 01.3: Residual space (Traces)
Residual Space is the space left behind once our physical form has moved on. As we shift our bodies within the built landscape they leave traces; marks of where they have been and what they have done. Traces could take physical form, or could be a memory within another individual’s body. A Trace could even be the removal of a part of what existed before. This process happens in every moment, with every form. Residual Space is what makes the city ever tangible, ever changing.
The garment constructed to address the notion of residual space is based largely on the principle of exaggeration. Utilising and exaggerating the natural process of abrasion within the garment design, wet paint in primary colours is distributed sequentially through the wearing process. This action leaves behind a visible trail of the bodies’ occupation of space. Each turn produces a different mix of colours; each material underfoot provides a different hue. While the garment itself was designed to disintegrate with use, the traces it leaves become more vibrant, lasting far beyond the time of physical occupation.
The design of the garment itself also created a somewhat un-intentional net structure, which swept up parts of the surrounding metropolis. The garment collected leaves and twigs, stones and litter as the body carried it through the metropolis. While the notion of landscape projecting traces onto the body had been touched on briefly during the initial conceptualization, it had not been purposely applied to the design of the made garment. This naturally occurring process foregrounds the notion that not only do our bodies leave traces on the built landscape, but that built landscape also leaves traces on the bodies that corroborate it.
Tutors: Marta Szoke & Brigitta Nachtmann, Hungary
03. SYNESTHETIC EXPERIMENT
Tutors: Irem Cicek & Umut Fisek, Turkey
04. SENSE YOUR CITY
Tutors: Janine Teuchsen, Germany & Camilla Siggaard Andersen, Denmark
The workshop aimed to interact with Ljubljana by provoking the citizens to use their senses. The provocation was to take form of small design projects that could intervene with the regular city life.
The workshop had an outcome of seven tangible projects, plus a few extra smaller experiments.
Wrap the trees: This project was designed to make the inhabitants pay more attention to the nature in their cityscape, by stirring their senses of sight and touch. This was done by making an art installation around a tree in a park.
Cushioning urban furniture: We noted how the public spaces with benches and bridges were heartily used by the inhabitants of Ljubljana, but also how the dominant materiality of stone and concrete lacked comfort and warmth. The team set out to cushion the urban furniture in order to soften the city to the sense of touch.
Reflecting the light: Ljubljana is beautiful city, but we found that the inhabitants rarely paid attention to the many attractive qualities of their home. In order to make people really see, we created a couple of distractions, blinding them with sharp light reflections to draw their attention to their sense of vision.
Water shadows: By using water as a medium for stencil drawing we created temporary graffiti art in the city, which quickly evaporated under the scorching sun. The idea was to make people aware of the “ghosts” of their city – the things which have been but which time has erased; A sort of appeal to the sixth sense.
Human wall: We noted the many narrow alleyways in Ljubljana, and the sensation of emerging from a tight space into a grander street or square, and we wanted to enhance this sensation. We made a wall of people behind a blanket which would hinder an easy passage for pedestrians.
Dining by the river: Ljubljana is dominated by the river, but in a particularly nice place there was a noticeable lack of resting opportunities. We designed a table and two seats for the broad fence along the bank, to enable pleasant pauses at this location.
The smelly box: The idea behind the smelly box was to take all the smells of the market place and put them into one monumental box, with the aim of stirring people’s curiosity as well as their senses. The attached chalk enabled people to communicate their experience at the box with others, in order to create a sense of community around the project.
Thank you to Andreea, Cansu, Caterina, Cormac, Peter, Paul, Tom, Elisa, Kathrin, Ezgi, Laura, Lucie, Athina, Andrew and Kevin for your enthusiasm!
05. LET YOUR EAR BE YOUR COMPASS!
Tutor: Tamas Butora, Hungary
It started with a couple of keywords, feelings, moods about the life, feelings of the life, as blind. I was looking for participants, who are very sensitive for these things, and i was curious about the ideas, opinions after a little experience. Luckily all of my participants were sensitive, we did a lot of special experiences and games, whitch are based on the other senses and the trust. We were getting close to each other. The ideas were awesome, the minds were very shiny, the participants were getting exited. The work was very hard, the different feelings and ideas putting in one installation. The very sofisticated senses and feelings were very intensive, each of us wanted to feel the materials, the tools, and the happiness of the building. We found us a very common and usually situation: how can we realize our poetic idea, what kind of materials we need, and where. How can we compare the idea with the real world? The less type of the materials and the non-construction solving were our way.
Each of us made a one day experience, especially how can we be blind, how it works? We wanted to feel, what does it mean to be blind. Each of us had different impressions. Each of us found different movements comfortable: sounds, touches, fragrances…Each of us found a target in Ljublana, what they found perfect to orientate and representate the idea. With these imressions borned ideas, wishes. We spent pretty much times with the designig to find the best solution for our installation. The two kind of materials what we used had a opportunity, means we bilt something which is not a construction, ergo target independent. We chosed a very calm and hidden place in the city, with the main element; the water.
The non-construction used ropes and textile. Cutted textile sheets hanged abow the water, cover the visual world, visualisated a kind of seeling. Under these seeling we hanged two hammocks. In a lying situation can see the seeling, can touch the water with hands and can hear the noise of him, can see the seeling’s plural white color. Sometimes the wind is blowing, the seeling is moving…the feeling is a flow, like with closed eyes, what we see.
Relaxing, flowing, calmness, the sound of the environment, the fragrance of the environment…what we felt. I hope the others have felt also.
We discovered a new world, and this is the best, what it happened. Special thanks for my team:
Ioana Lupascou, Mirela Gancheva, Tímea Ferth, Daniel Haarhof, Ondrej Novák.
06. A ROOM WITH A VIEW
Tutors: Wendy Teo, Malaysia & Linda Hagberg, Sweden
The Floral Pavilion emerges from the ground like a patterned landscape formation sheltering visitors from the surrounding world. Inspired by the oriental shoji screen, a translucent light filtering screen, the varying depth of the floral pattern creates an interactive shadow display.
This project examines an experimental structural system resulting in a continuous transparent skin, not differentiating the wall from the roof. The radiating cell network of the pavilion, originating from the growth pattern of floral petals, varies in size and depth of its components to create a gradient pattern of more or less dense areas of the skin.
The form is generated by a network of voronoi clusters projected towards a centre point and then trimmed against an inner and outer surface. Using parametric software, variables such as the position of the centre point and the shape of the intersecting surfaces can be easily modified to test a number of iterations.
The individual cells of the network are then unrolled and numbered to facilitate the assembly process. 1:10 scale paper and cardboard prototypes were produced to test the structure, materiality, lighting, fixing and weatherproofing methods.
Construction - Combining Craft and Digital Fabrication
With 12 amazing participants from Cyprus, Czech Republic, Portugal, Romania and Serbia the 3x3m pavilion was constructed and delivered to Tabor Square. The 8mm corrugated cardboard was cut by hand (due to lack of suitable cnc-router), numbered according to the digital model and folded to form cells. Each cell was then glued to the adjacent cell and assembled into clusters which were brought to the final site. With annotated clusters and digital 3d model at hand the assembly on site was completed in less than 2 hours.
The Floral Pavilion is a temporary space for meditation and relaxation in Tabor Square, the cultural heart of Ljubljana. The characteristics of the space, the lighting condition and shadow pattern, change ephemerally based on the exterior lighting and environmental conditions.
Team Members: Ana Rita Tomé, Elena Constanti, Francisco Leão Peres, Giorgos Kyriazis, Iona Mitrea, Katarina Vukovic, Milica Exy Vujanic, Mirka Baklíková, Oana Anghelache, Sandra Lup, Thisbe Christou, Xristiana Xristou
07. GET LOST – GET FOUND
Tutor: Agnieszka Ufnal, Poland
Basic point to create the pavilion was the analysis of unconscious although obvious needs of every human being. As a social unit we have the right to choose the way of interaction with surroundings. The elementary factor of being human is functioning in some society and interactions with it although individuality and solitude are equally important. The aim of the installation was a try to find a balance between both.
GET LOST – GET FOUND pavilion gives a choice for users. This floating organic structure implemented into modern space of museum square has been cut with a path which divided the pavilion into two zones- ‘human interactions zone’ with low extensive seat for a few people and ‘solitude zone’- partly covered shelter for only one person. There is also a possibility to pass through the space without any conscious contact with it.
The additional aspect of the pavilion was its sensory elements which influent its spatial perception- openwork timber construction, which only unconsciously gives a feeling of space division; black felt which covers both pavement and some parts of the construction which makes an impression of being inside (carpet and furniture illusion) and encourages to stay.
Last but not least- plastic bottles- one of the most common elements in our contemporary world which causes an undiscovered yet feeling of touch sense by forcing straight contact with many of them.
Tutor: Gheorghe Madalin, Romania
09. SENSE OF EQUILIBRIUM
Tutors: Anna Wejkowska & Lukasz Balcerzak, Poland
10. SOUND FOREST
Tutors: Przemyslaw Chimczak & Alicja Sawicka, Poland
The Sound Forest installation is a response to the issue of sound in public spaces. Unfortunately, in modern cities we lost the opportunity to explore the range of sounds that must compete with noise pollution due to traffic. This problem inspired us to explore the city and introduce a new aural experience. The project was conceived to maximize participation of students in the design process.
Tutors created a basic conceptual framework, selected a limited palate of materials and researched on two potential sites prior to the commencement of the workshop. While the group discussed every aspect of the design together in detail, these boundaries proved helpful in focussing the thoughts of the group such that all potential designs shared a common conceptual spirit.
In the centre of the Slovenian capital, the installation became part of the revitalization process of Park Tabor. From the beginning of the design process, it was important that the installation should intrigue and entice, but not be an overpowering presence, that it should not impose itself on its surroundings, but rather that it should grow out of them, and once completed, continue to respond and change with the wind.
The construction of installation is based on simplicity and multiplied use of basic elements. The location had a great impact on the shape of the project, because the trees were used as only base of designed structure. 3000 pieces of hand cut MDF hung on 2000 metres of linen string created altogether a complex and intriguing installation.
The border between inside and outside is blurred, establishing two different kinds of spaces: a welcoming exterior and enclosed interior. Big enough for two people to stand, the interior creates an intimate atmosphere. The visitor, immersed in the music, created by both wind and person, surrounded by ever-changing dappled shadows, is able to forget about the busy aspects of city life. The visitor reconnects with the specific conditions of the spot on which they stand: wind passing through surrounding trees and installation, the crunch of leaves underfoot, the glorious brightness of the sky, framed by a small oculus overhead. Free from other distractions, the visitor’s mind is freed to pursue its own thoughts. For the young and for the old, the installation proved to be an intriguing toy, a musical instrument. For the duration that the visitor was inside, the space became his, with each visit, the room became something else.
The Sound Forest Group was composed of 15 people representing different countries and disciplines. The members were: Alexandra Ana, Fifine Bereiziat, Esme Brooker, Przemyslaw Chimczak, Nikol Chr, Argjent Ferati, Jack Hughes, Argjire Krasniqi, Ilir Krasniqi, Marina Nastou, Manu Negrila, Nicholas Ransome, Alicja Sawicka, Petya Vatsova, Ruiting Zhang.
11. A SPACE WITH ONE WALL
Tutors: Rae Moore & Mike O’Dell, Ireland
Tutor: Simona di Vincenzo, Italy
The HearDrop project aims to stimulate the sense of hearing through the sound created by falling water drops. The idea underlying the project is to create a connection between sound and water, trying to produce music through water droplets that fall on different materials from different heights.
Participants chose between three proposals, symbolic forms that represent three possible developments of the initial idea: the cave, the river and the dragon.
The first two could have developed within a cubic volume, while the third, the chosen form, is shaped like a portal, with the advantage of a greater interactivity with the audience.
The wooden structure conceals a circuit in which water can flow freely, composed by two water tanks, a garden hose and seven drippers. The part of the water system suspended in the air is installed into a sinuous shape that resembles the body of a dragon, the symbol of the city of Ljubljana.
Through the use of parametric modeling software, two hundred “scales”, each one of a different shape from the others, were cut from sheets of metal and Plexiglas, forming a pattern with holes where the water drops fall and constituting a sort of “project inside the project”, a small experiment of digital manufacturing.
After a fall of about two meters the water drops end up beating five wooden columns, each covered with a sheet of different materials: plastic, metal, wood and the water itself. The body of the columns amplifies the sound and acts as a sounding board, making the sound louder.
The water drops falling on them from above produce various sounds: different rhythms by different time rates, different timbres and tones by different materials. The result is a mix of sounds that chase each other and overlap in the style of African music, rhythmic and swinging.
Participants: Diana Stoicescu, Elen Arakelyan, Susanna Minasyan, Klára Paterová, Radu Gabriel, Martin Málek, Elena Dimitrova, Kevin Verreijt, Başak Akgün, Ina Hristova, Paulina Piechota, Elsa Richnau, Lora Nurkova, Katerina Gondova
Tutor: Lukasz Pienczykowski, Poland
14. (RE)DISCOVER FULLY THE LIFE
Tutor: Mariya Baykova, Bulgaria
Choose your path! 2 options, 2 entries; a decision to make, similar to other simple everyday situations.
Closed or open
Hot or cool
Still or windy
Intimate or public
Dark or bright
Narrow or wide
Low or high
Step bare-feet on the ground and feel it!
Flat or rugged
Soft or hard
Noisy or quiet
Touch the surrounding walls. Experiment with your senses. Can you navigate yourself without your sight? Feel the difference between each segment you enter. Where do you feel safe and cozy? Explore the world; create yourself!
15. WHAT DO YOU SEE? WHAT DO YOU HEAR?
Tutors: VAV architects, Ireland & Spain & Australia
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 canopys’ 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 projects 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.
16. THE WATER TEMPLE
Tutor: Kieran Donnellan, Ireland
The pavilion is a non-‘white wall’ exhibition space whose character is meant to inspire exhibits of both existing work and custom pieces that relate to the concept that shaped the pavilion. That concept was derived from the history of the river that flows through Ljubljana, the Ljubljanica, and in particular the change over time in the ways that locals interact with their river.
Located in a narrow riverside park, the curved and sharp lines of the wooden pavilion evoke the atmosphere of a boat that has been placed, seemingly at first, loosely among a line of trees beside a sluice gate built by Jose Plecnik. Upon further investigation, the subtleties of the orientation and the nature of the eccentric geometry become obvious. Acknowledging the hierarchy in the directions of flow of foot-traffic on the site, the pavilion sits close to the waters edge while reaching out through the tree-line towards pedestrians. As it breaks this line, the northern side of the pavilion dissolves, encouraging movement towards the entrance of the pavilion, while framing views of the sluice gate in the process. The covered entryway is an exaggerated portico that addresses Plecnik’s monument. This creates a strong tension in a way that seems at once both formal and informal.
The sliding door of the pavilion has no handle. Fluted carving, a reference to the features of the monument, offers grip over the entire surface of the door. Sliding back, it reveals the curved surfaces of the interior. The wooden floor of the entry lobby ends upon striking the elliptical curve of the interior exhibition space, where the most intriguing aspect of the concept is discovered. The floor of the exhibition space is a pool of water. This is a reference to the way in which the Ljubljanica river was experienced by locals in the past. The river lapped right onto some of the streets and public spaces, and the use of small boats was part of daily life. That moment of stepping from dry land onto a water based vessel is imitated in the Water Temple, when a visitor takes their first tentative step onto the sliced tree-trunks which are placed, unfixed, throughout the pool. Movement in the exhibition space is carefully balanced and considered, as in a small boat.
Exhibitors have the freedom to decide where the tree-trunks should be placed, or to use alternative steps for their exhibitions. Work can be mounted on steel supports fixed to the primary vertical structural members, and placed in or on the pool. The pavilion will remain in its current location for between 6 months to a year. A series of exhibitors will be allowed to use the pavilion in turn. Anybody interested in exhibiting in the Water Temple can make inquiries to MEDS.
The pavilion was built using CNC technology and wood bending techniques. DamaHaus used their CNC machine to manufacture the primary structural components, all made from pine. This included cutting a mixture of traditional blind tenon and exposed dovetail joints. The curved walls were made on-site by cold-bending and glueing 2 thin layers of wood together following immersion in the Ljubljanica river.
The twelveplus team was composed of 17 people from a variety of different countries and disciplines. The members were: Agata Madurowicz; Agata Motyka; Andreas Von Knobloch; Anže Jagodic; Catriona Kinghorn; Florence Declaveillere; Irem Karadeniz; Kieran Donnellan; Luca Giacobazzi; Maria Prodromou; Marta Vrankar; Martina Zaman; Mitja Škerjanc; Paul O’ Brien; Sarah Mogensen; Valerio Bianchi; Zsolt Sarkadi. The team name is a reference to the fact that while the principle design was developed by a core group of 12 people, there were contributions from many others including the MEDS organisers and DamaHaus team.
17. THROUGH THE DIGITAL EYE
Tutor: Blaž Jamšek, Slovenia
Human eye is a complex organ and so are all the processes that take place in the brain afterwards. All those processes make our vision subjective, but despite that, we take it as reality. To “see what we see” and then put it on paper is thus a real challenge. Compared to the eye, a film or a digital camera has its limits in the range of light it can reproduce or the amount of time it can capture, but with different techniques we can get close or even exceed what our eye can detect.
Participants had the opportunity to learn all the basic and advanced functions of a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera. Together we took a look at the theory of composition, light & contrast, perspective, time dimension, dynamic range etc. and afterwards they also tried it out in practice. As days passed by their skill and knowledge grew… and so did all the stories and motives that their ‘‘digital eye’’ had captured for us to see!