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A r t i s t ry a n d I m a g i nat i o n Th r o u g h N at u r e


CONTRIBUTORS

ALEX ANDERSON

SALLY CARMICHAEL

D R U E D AV I S

KEENE NIEMACK


EVOKE MAGAZINE

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R E SPO N SE

ENV IR O N M E N T B ECOME

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F O R M S

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THR OUG H A ND

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ID E AS ,

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AC T I

I N TE R PR E TATI O N

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TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S

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T O D A O

A N D O

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64 G A L L E R Y :

P A T R I C K

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LD . U P C Y C L I N G

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S O L A R

28 P R O D U C T S :

T H O M A S

H E T H E R W I C K

E N E R G Y

A R C H I T E C T U R E :

T O M

K U D I G

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EVOKE MAGAZINE

INTRO

V I S U A L I Z I N G S U S T A I N A B I L I T Y a change in how we view design and the difference it makes

S

ustainability design is a concept that is known by many names, most commonly it is known as sustainable design or environmental design or even

green design. No matter what name it is called by, sustainability design is more of a philosophy than a design concept. At its very core, sustainability design strives to create products and services that are beneficial not only to the producer and the consumer but to the global economy and the environment as a whole. This is achieved through the use of renewable resources as well as by incorporating the natural environment and human interaction with the natural environment into designs. Sustainability design, once thought of as more of an ideal than a reality is now being commonly used for a variety of applications. Though most probably thought of as an architectural concept, sustainability design is now being used as well in landscape architecture, interior design and rural and urban planning and development .The idea of sustainability design is being applied to how every day products and services are produced as well.


S U S TA I N

D E F I N I N G S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y

— CHUCK GREEN

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EVOKE MAGAZINE

INTRO


S U S TA I N

D E F I N I N G S U S TA I N A B I L I T Y

“ G O O D D E S I G N I S P A R T I A L L Y C R E A T I V I T Y A N D I N N O VA T I O N , B U T P R I M A R I L Y K N O W L E D G E A N D A WA R E N E S S . �

The most common current examples of sustainability

Whether the concept of sustainability design is being

design can be seen in the increased interest of companies

applied to the development of a farm or the development

in buying resources from local markets and using local

of a new product or service, the idea behind sustainability

labor. By creating industrial systems that more closely re-

design is the same: to create products and services that re-

semble biological systems, not only do companies increase

duce negative environmental impact and also make a pos-

their profits, they increase their efficiency levels and make

itive, long lasting impact on global and local economies.

less of an impact on the environment. On a larger, and more obvious scale, sustainability design can be seen in urban architecture as well as in urban planning. More and more cities are turning to the idea of waste reduction as opposed to waste management and

SOC IALLY EQUITABLE

they are also more readily adopting the idea of renovating spaces within existing area and improving internal transportation systems instead of building out and increasing urban sprawl. In rural areas, the increase in organic and local farm-

S US TAINABLE DES IGN

ing is also an example of sustainability design. By creating farms that rely on crop rotation and composting as opposed to pesticides and fertilizers, the environmental impact of growing produce and shipping produce is reduced and the local economy and environment are impacted in a positive way.

EC ONOMIC ALLY VIABLE

ENVIRONMEN TA LLY BENIGN

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S O L A R PA N E L S

SOLAR POWER h o w s o l a r p o w e r e d a r c h i t e c t u r e i s n o w ta k i n g o v e r s u s ta i n a b l e d e s i g n a n d a r c h i t e c t u r e .

A

rchitecture is a slow technology,” says Rodrigo Rubio, architect at Barcelona’s Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia. “Maybe we have to rethink

how we understand architecture - as a static field or a dynamic one.” Rubio’s Endesa Pavilion, a building shaped to maximise its exposure to the Sun, is, he says, a statement of how energy efficiency should guide the form of a building, rather than just adding solar panels to a finished design. Every aspect of the pavilion design is shaped for its location on Barcelona’s Olympic harbour. “Each module is adapted to its specific position in relation to the Sun’s path,” explains Rubio. The angular modules reduce the Sun’s full glare to the building’s interior in summer, but let in light during winter. At the same time, the solar panels are exposed as directly to the Sun as possible throughout the day and over the year. Designating the modules’ positions involved feeding radiation, temperature and energy data into a unique software programed specifically for the pavillion.

D E P A R T M E N T: A R C H I T E C T U R E

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“ I N C R E D I B L E L E T

E X A M P L E

S U S T A I N A B I L I T Y

S T R U C T U R E S

D E S I G N

O F

H O W

T R U L Y A N D

W E

C A N

I N F O R M

A

P U R P O S E . ”

It has being said that the potential uses of solar energy

and southern solstices, wind directions and speed, al-

are only limited by human ingenuity. There are several

titude, relative humidity, shadows produced by other

uses available now for solar energy like water heating,

bodies like buildings, trees or mountains, local wind

water purification, day lighting, natural illumination,

currents generated by skycrapers, and other factors that

solar cooking, space heating and cooling, and solar ar-

affect the micro climate around the building. The huge

chitecture among others.

advantage of passive solar building (solar architecture)

One of the most eco friendly methods used in

is that it relies on solar energy and natural processes.

construction is passive solar building design or solar

Solar architecture doesn’t need energy generation, be-

architecture. It is a professional knowledge that uses

ing an excellent eco friendly solar energy use.

several techniques and strategies, to use the natural

Eco friendly solar energy generation, relies on photo-

solar energy to illuminate the building and regulate

voltaic generation and heat engines. Solar panels also

its temperature, without the use of mechanical or elec-

known as photovoltaic panels, can be used for produc-

trical devices. It is based on millenarian and scientific

ing electricity in houses and building of almost any

knowledge. It doesn’t need human generated energies

kind. It is a great ecological technology, but it is still

so therefore it doesn’t produce any kind of contamina-

expensive. There are also solar panel plants that gener-

tion and leaves a minimal carbon footprint.

ate a lot of electricity and then distributes it to cities

In passive solar building design, it is vital to analyze

and residences.

the local climate. Solar architecture puts detailed attention on sun inclination through the year, northern

CAN SOLAR PANELS REALLY HELP?

925 J APAN

Solar energy allows you to power your home with clean, renewable energy. You can make a huge difference just by getting home solar panels installed. Over a 15 year span, an individual solar panel on average can supply a 3 bedroom home with enough energy to offset over 80,000 lbs of carbon dioxide. This is the same as not driving 100,000 miles.

3923

447

U NIT ED S TAT ES

F RANCE

WORLD E N E R G Y 547 GERMANY

568 INDIA

C O N S U M P T I O N

BILLION KWH

1023 RU S S IA


S O L A R PA N E L S

D E P A R T M E N T: A R C H I T E C T U R E

People are more likely to install solar panels if their

bours speak positively and informatively about their ex-

neighbours have them, according to a study by marketing

perience with a particular contractor. Furthermore, there

and economics researchers at Stanford University.

is anecdotal evidence that companies selling solar panels

According to the study, for every one percent increase

ramp up their marketing efforts in areas where they have

in the number of installations in a particular postcode,

installed panels to take advantage of peer effects and in-

the time it takes until the next adoption of solar panels

fluence.

decreases by one percent. Bryan Bollinger and Kenneth

They accepted that one obvious reason why there

Gillingham put this viral effect down to a number of

might be clustering is because of environmental pref-

different factors, including peer pressure, infrastructure

erences, whereby people who generally live a “greener”

and training and marketing density. The report examined

lifestyle are more likely to buy into emerging green tech-

the installations of solar panels on houses in California

nologies. Interestingly, greater environmental prefer-

between 2002 and 2012.

ences (driving hybrids, carpooling, walking to work, us-

Neighbours could be motivated to install solar panels

ing public transport) appear to make people less likely to

because they want to project a green image once their

adopt solar panels based on their neighbours’ decision to

neighbours have already done so. They could also be

adopt, suggesting that environmentalists are early adopt-

influenced by the social learning effect of having neigh-

ers who aren’t as influenced by their peer’s actions.

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D: 01

This particular instillation by Patrick Nadeau was designed specifically for the Boffi Gallery and is titled, Le’Circ Koln.


S O L A R PA N E L S

D E P A R T M E N T: A R C H I T E C T U R E

Let’s be honest: superior architecture so far meant first of

energy, photovoltaic are the only way to achieve maximum

all superior design, an innovative, unusual design. But in

comfort with minimum operational costs. It is only pos-

age of climate change, ever stringent energy saving laws,

sible, if architects and engineers collectively develop intel-

resource scarcity with simultaneously increasing comfort

ligent building - and energy concepts. Concept that make

requirements everything changes - especially the thinking.

sense ecologically as well as economically. And a new, rev-

Without crossing the limits, the “Crossover� of disciplines

olutionary architecture can emerge: the ideal conjunction

nothing is done. The overall observation of buildings, die

of aesthetics and function - solar architecture. Welcome to

synergies of structural physics, thermal energy, geothermal

the new age of living.

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EVOKE MAGAZINE

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S C U L P T U R E I N N AT U R E

EARTHLY SCULPTURE sculp tors and artisans are increasingly turning to the natura l wor l d as s o ur c e of i n s p i rat ion a n d c ur io s i t y.

atural sculpture was a development of the art of the 20th century, environmental sculpture usually creates or alters the environment for the viewer, as opposed to presenting itself figurally or monumentally before the viewer. A frequent trait of larger environmental sculptures is that one can actually enter or pass through the sculpture and be partially or completely surrounded by it. Also, in the same spirit, it may be designed to generate shadows or reflections, or to color the light in the surrounding area. Environmental sculpture entails the idea that the piece also functions to alter or permeate the existing environment or even to create a new environment in which the viewer is invited to participate. Environmental sculptor can utilize virtually any medium, from mud and stone to light and sound.

D E P A R T M E N T: G A L L E R Y

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R O X Y

P A I N E

Roxy Paine uses both mechanical means and the innate logic of natural forms to create his “Dendroid” tree-like sculptures. Paine’s meticulous research and observation of a variety of tree species help him to understand the “language” of how a tree grows, and from there he creates fictional tree species that grow to a logic of their own. Employing the language that he has invented pertaining to each of these fictive species, Paine’s trees are “grown” through a laborious process of welding together the cylindrical piping and rods of diminishing size.He has also described his aims with the Dendroids series by saying, “I have been seeking to expand the edges of the language, and send the work outward into those edges. Essentially, I am establishing the rules of a language, only to then break those rules.” The first of these dendroids was Impostor, 1999, now at the Wanas Foundation, in Knislinge, Sweden. Roxy has gone on to create twentyfive of these sculptures, including Bluff, 2002, which premiered in New York’s Central Park during the Whitney Biennial in 2002, and the very ambitious Conjoined, 2007, recently on display in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park (through December 31, 2007). Conjoined is a 40 ft tall by 45 ft wide sculpture of two trees whose branches cantilever in space and connect in mid air. Paine creates two different fictional tree species where each branch from one tree joins with a branch from the other. For the observer, it is unclear where one tree begins and the other ends. “Conjoined” was acquired in 2008 by and is on display at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.

DENDROIDS

Paine’s meticulous research and observation of a variety of tree species help him to understand the “language” of how a tree grows, and from there he creates fictional tree species that grow to a logic of their own.Employing the language that he has invented pertaining to each of these fictive species, Paine’s trees are “grown” through a laborious process of welding together the cylindrical piping and rods of diminishing size.


D E P A R T M E N T: G A L L E R Y

S C U L P T U R E I N N AT U R E

J A S O N

D E C A I R E R

T A Y L O R

Born in 1974 to an English father and Guyanese mother, Taylor grew up in Europe and Asia, where he spent much of his early childhood exploring thmatchne coral reefs of Malaysia. Educated in the South East of England, Taylor graduated from the London Institute of Arts in 1998 with a BA Honours in Sculpture and went on to become a fully qualified diving instructor and underwater naturalist. With over 17 years diving experience under his belt, Taylor is also an award winning underwater photographer, famous for his dramatic images, which capture the metamorphosing effects of the ocean on his evolving sculptures. In 2006, Taylor founded and created the world’s first underwater sculpture park. Situated off the coast of Grenada in the West Indies it is now listed as one of the Top 25 Wonders of the World by National Geographic. His latest creation is MUSA (Museo Subaquatico de Arte), a monumental museum with a collection of over 450 public sculptural works, submerged off the coast of Cancun, Mexico; described by Forbes as one of the world’s most unique travel destinations. Both these ambitious, permanent public works have a practical, functional aspect, facilitating positive interactions between people and fragile underwater habitats while at the same relieving pressure on natural resources.

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D:02

TAY L O R ’ S A R T I S L I K E N O O T H E R , A PA R A D O X C O N S T R U C T E D T O B E A S S I M I L AT E D B Y T H E TRANSFORMED FROM INERT OBJECTS INTO LI C O R A L R E E F S , P O R T R AY I N G H U M A N I N T E R V E N POSITIVE AND LIFE-ENCOURAGING


S C U L P T U R E I N N AT U R E

D E P A R T M E N T: G A L L E R Y

O F C R E AT I O N , OCEAN AND V I N G B R E AT H I N G TION AS BOTH

The Silent Evolution - underwater sculpture by Jason deCaires Taylor

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EVOKE MAGAZINE

F: 01

T H O M A S

H E A T H E R W I C K

I N D U S T R I A L

D E S I G N E R

1

IS AN ENGLISH DESIGNER KNOWN FOR I N N O VAT I V E U S E O F E N G I N E E R I N G A N D M AT E R I A L S I N P U B L I C M O N U M E N T S A N D SCULPTURES.

H E AT H E R W I C K ’ S

MOST

RENOWNED WORKS INCLUDE THE B OF THE BANG, THE ROLLING BRIDGE, EAST BEACH NEW

CAFE,THE BUS

SUMMER

FOR

SO-CALLED LONDON,

O LY M P I C

FLAME

A N D T H E S E E D C AT H E D R A L .

‘BORIS’

THE

2012

CAULDRON,


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PEOPLE THE

ARE

FUTURE

A N D THE

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F E AT U R E : T H O M A S H E AT H E R W I C K

PRODUCTS

A MODERN AND MYSTIFYING MARVEL b r i t i s h d e s i g n e r ’s l i m i t l e s s i m a g i n at i o n r a n g e s f r o m p r o d u c t s t o s t r u c t u r e s WRITTEN BY NICHOLAS WROE

T

homas Heatherwick is well aware of the

Walking through it you weave between assemblages of

place the inventor occupies in the popular

twisted and shaped metal, wood, plastic and glass as well

imagination. “There’s Willy Wonka,” he says. “And

as a succession of intriguing models in various states

Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang. And the word ‘mad’ is also

of completion depicting putative pieces of furniture,

often attached to the word ‘inventor.’” He pauses. “But

bridges and even whole districts of Chinese cities.

the things that capture people’s imagination in arts or

The sense of creative inclusiveness is something

architecture or fashion are the most inventive things.

that Heatherwick has sought since his time as a

The best entrepreneurs have invented new ideas for

student at the Royal College of Art. A 42-year-old

business. And for me, the art of something is very often

who is infectiously evangelical about his work, he still

in its invention.”

remembers his frustration at encountering “sliced-up

Heatherwick is more properly a designer than

ghettos of thought” – sculpture, architecture, fashion,

an inventor, but in the way he has put together the

embroidery, metalwork, product and furniture design

studio he has run for the last 18 years, where he has

all in separate departments – “which I don’t believe are

attempted to combine as many creative disciplines as

absolute. It’s just the way we categorise things and the

possible, there is a least a hint of the spirit of invention.

way we chose to educate people.”

Engineers, architects, product designers, landscape

As he says in the introduction to Making, a lavish

designers, sculptors, photographers, stage designers and

new book about his practice, published by Thames &

urban planners all work together.

Hudson to coincide with a retrospective exhibition of

Visiting his King’s Cross premises, prosaically

his work opening at the V&A, “I wanted to consider

tucked behind a Travelodge, is to encounter part hi-

all design in three dimensions, not as multidisciplinary

tech research lab, part art school campus and part, well,

design, but as a single discipline: three dimensional

Wonka chocolate factory or Caractacus Potts workshop.

design.” As a student he met Terence Conran, who

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A

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S E E D S

T H I S P O R C U P I N E O F A B U I L D I N G WA S I N FA C T T H E B R I T I S H PAV I L I O N AT E X P O 2 0 1 0 S H A N G H A I C H I N A . K N O W N A S “ T H E S E E D C AT H E D R A L ” , T H E S T R U C T U R E C O N S I S T E D O F M O R E T H A N 6 0 , 0 0 0 T R A N S PA R E N T RODS, EACH ENCASING ONE OF MORE SEEDS FROM C H I N A’ S K U M M I N G I N S T I T U T E O F B O TA N Y. FA M E D B R I T I S H D E S I G N E R T H O M A S H E AT H E R W I C K C O N C E I V E D T H E WA L K - I N C A S T L E A S A F I B E R - O P T I C C E L E B R AT I O N O F N AT U R E , I L L U M I N AT E D B Y S U N L I G H T A N D A G L O W AT N I G H T W H AT T H E R O D S S WAY E D WITH THE BREEZE. A F T E R T H E E X P O C L O S E D L A S T FA L L , T H E C A S T L E WA S D I S M A N T L E D , B U T I T S L E G A C Y L I V E S O N . T H E RODS,

EACH

SHOWING

LIFE’S

POTENTIAL,

WERE

DISTRIBUTED TO SCHOOLS ACROSS CHINA AND THE UNITED KINGDOM.


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became something of a mentor and later described

I DON’T BELIEVE SLICED UP GHETTOS OF THOUGHT ARE

Heatherwick as “the Leonardo da Vinci of our times”.

A B S O L U T E . I T ’ S J U S T T H E WAY W E C AT E G O R I Z E T H I N G S

Conran saw a Heatherwick plan for a gazebo made of two, 6m high curved stacks of birch plywood, and made its construction possible by inviting Heatherwick to work at his country home. For the 1997 London fashion week, he was asked to dress the Harvey Nichols window display. The result was a vast, insect-like ribbon of illuminated wood that snaked in between the store and the street, smashing through all 12 windows. In 2000 came a bag for French luxury goods company Longchamp, made almost entirely out of a zipper that enabled it to double in size. In 2005 he completed a futuristic, shell-like East Beach Café at Littlehampton – no small venture, as the tiny kiosk it replaced sold “£100,000 worth of extruded ice-cream every year”. His UK pavilion for the 2007 World Expo in Shanghai was the size of a small tower block and covered inside and out in silvery hair (60,000 25-foot-long acrylic rods). His studio designed the recently re-imagined London bus, and it will be a Heatherwick cauldron that houses the London Olympic flame.

A N D T H E WAY W E C H O S E T O E D U C AT E P E O P L E . While most people barely think about the design of the objects around them, for Heatherwick there was from the beginning a strongly programmed idea that things were for the making. His mother was an enameller and jeweller whose workshop was in the family home (“the route to my parents’ bedroom was past her enamelling powders and kilns”). His father was a musician and Royal Marine boxer with a fascination for futuristic housing prototypes. A grandmother started the Marks & Spencer textile studio before becoming a pioneer in the field of art therapy (“the idea that the visual world had an effect on people’s well-being was in there somewhere”). And a grandfather whose family had founded Jaeger and who also wrote about design for the 1951 Festival of Britain was obsessed with Victorian engineers. “The influences on me do rather add up,” he concedes. As a child he would go to what was then called the Eastway cycle track in the Lea Valley – now the site of the Olympic velodrome – to watch “human-powered vehicle racing”. “It felt very Victorian in that people would come along with adapted devices in various stages of invention. There were bikes that you steered by leaning, and you’d see a guy disappear round a corner and then hobble back into view a few moments later covered in grazes. Someone else put on a fairing in an attempt to beat a world record. It was another example of people having ideas and putting them into practice.” The first time Heatherwick was paid for a project he spent his earnings on a recumbent bicycle similar to those he had seen at Eastway. He still rides it today, and bemoans the misapplication of racing

T H O M A S H E AT H E R W I C K


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SEED CATHEDRAL: BY THE NUMBERS Built for the 2010 World Expo held in China, the Seed Cathedral is an astonishing building designed to help promote awareness for both plant and human life. Taking a closer look at what went into this impressive structure may surprise you.

60,000

Fiber-optic fillaments

100

percent of the structure was donated to schools across China and the UK

25 mil.

the amount of British Pounds it cost to build the cathedral

250,000

seeds encased in its limbs

geometry to modern recreational bikes, explaining how he wants both efficiency and ease of viewing position. As to how he finds design solutions, he says the process is almost the opposite of having a “Eureka” moment. “It is more like solving a crime. The answer is there, and your job is to find it. So we go off and do bits of research that essentially eliminate suspects from the enquiry. And then you follow up leads and gradually narrow down the potential solutions. Ultimately what you’re left with is the answer. Even if you’d thought of it at the beginning of the process, you could never know it was right until the end.” Not that his career has been all plain sailing. His commission for a commemorative sculpture for the 2002 Commonwealth games in Manchester, B of the Bang (representing the moment sprinter Linford Christie said he tried to get out of his blocks on hearing the starting pistol) was a 56m, 180-ton structure featuring a starburst of 180 metal spikes. Repeated technical and safety concerns eventually led to its dismantling at significant financial cost to the studio.

Heatherwick points to a reluctance, especially in the UK, to get the best out of design thinking. “There seems to be a linear way of looking at things in Britain. If I showed them the UK Expo pavilion they would say, ‘hmmm, nice, but we don’t need a hairy town hall or a hairy apartment building’, rather than seeing that that was a specific response to an aspect of the brief and looking at the underlying thinking. It’s a perception that people have a style and it is all about the application of that style. Elsewhere in the world people saw what was achieved and wondered how we would respond to another.” Heatherwick’s current big projects overseas include apartment buildings in Malaysia where, at the instigation of the city mayor who offered more floor space if the project benefited the whole city, they are “essentially creating a piece of rainforest, to convert the site from the perception of 90% building with a few trees round the edge, to 90% rainforest”. There is an even larger project to develop a half-kilometre block of Shanghai that will house the main arts district as well industrial buildings,


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F E AT U R E : T H O M A S H E AT H E R W I C K

high density housing, a park, shopping and

so that we prioritise quality of experience and

not, even though this one will be in the heart

office space.

also give some dignity to the experience of

of a community and provide something as

travelling on a bus. It sounds pompous, but that

important as hot water.”

He says that, generally, the bolder the ideas, the more enthusiastic people become. “When I

is the way that people get around.”

Heatherwick has used the process of

initially proposed the Harvey Nichols project

He complains about how hand poles had

putting together the new book and exhibition

I was told that the head of building services

become nuclear warning yellow (“they need

to attempt to track that movement of

would never allow it. No one had woven one

a contrast level, but don’t need the maximum

inventiveness in his own work. “I started

object through the entire building. But he was

contrast level you could humanly achieve”);

keeping a journal because of the shock at

actually excited to be offered something so

about the strip lighting (“that’s what a battery

how quickly the past evaporates behind you

different. People often complain that planners

chicken farm has – kinder lighting makes people

like a vapor trail. And while there is a risk of

stop them from doing radical things. That’s not

feel that little bit better about themselves”); and

becoming sick of yourself when you look back

my experience at all and I think people use

individual bucket seats with built in crevices for

at what you’ve done, trying to distil it will

planners as an excuse. Planners, in general, do

accumulating crisp packets. “Travelling round

be very useful to us in the future. Although

want something special to happen.”

London in a chic convertible sports car is

Making is a very big book, we haven’t actually

His most notable recent UK projects have

actually the worst way to see the city. The best

built that many things. We want this process of

been a bio-mass power station on Teesside –

is from the upstairs of a bus, which is not only

looking back to act as inspiration for making

currently on hold waiting for a decision as to

very democratic, it meditatively frees you from

more. It’s quite a moment. We can not only say

future government energy policy – and the new

your normal existence. You get the bigger view.”

‘this is what we’ve done’, more importantly we

London bus. He says buses have been subject to

All this forms part of a wider interest in

an “absurd number of regulatory changes over

what he calls “public-ness. The idea of when

the years and there hasn’t been design thinking

you do, and don’t, expect something to be

to balance them. We don’t want to reject any

special. When you go into an art gallery you

of the health and safety initiatives, but we did

pretty much say: hit me with something

need to recalibrate the design in light of them

meaningful. But a power station? Probably

can also ask: ‘what’s next?’”

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A N Y B O D Y S O C I ET Y

L I VI NG

W ITHI

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F E AT U R E : TA D A O A N D O

LANDSCAPE

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From Archidose comes the news of an installation of around 7,000 platinum-glazed ceramic tiles in a courtyard of a house by Tadao Ando, in Tokyo.

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F E AT U R E : TA D A O A N D O

THE ARCHITECT OF WATER AND LIGHT the idea of rebirth and reconstruction, serves as a memorial to the thousands who had lost their lives W R I T T E N B Y S A I M A R I K AWA

H

istorically, architecture has always been an es-

which I had proposed to preserve and revitalize by in-

sential characteristic in defining a civilization.

serting a new egg-shaped hall inside of it while main-

Tadao Ando, master of architecture from Japan, has not

taining the appearance of the building’s exterior. I

only innovated the way structures are built, but, through

thought that the energy of the collision between the old

his work, he has also defined what we can now consider

and new could generate a stimulating space that would

modern Japanese architecture.

fascinate visitors. Although this proposal did not become reality, in 2010, I was finally able to realize a similar con-

What is “fascinating architecture” to you?

cept in Italy, where I inserted a concrete box into a 15th-

I think people are fascinated by the energy generated in a

century building for the Punta della Dogana in Venice.

place where differing things collide together, rather than by spaces that have been attuned to complete harmony. I

So, is the essence of your architectural work to cre-

have worked on several projects dealing with the theme

ate fascination and to impart it upon the people of

of “dialogues between the past and present.” The first one

today and the future?

was the Nakanoshima Urban Egg project. Nakanoshima,

By instilling fascination into visitors, people gather natu-

a sandbar nestled between two rivers flowing through

rally, join together, and initiate conversations. My goal

the middle of Osaka, is lined with historical buildings.

is to create architecture that does this. Some time ago, I

Among them is the Osaka City Central Public Hall,

built the Church of the Light in Ibaraki in Osaka. The

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church is an unadorned square box as seen from the ex-

architecture “to create fascination beyond imagination.”

terior, but upon stepping inside, one is faced by a cross

At Naoshima, an island in the Seto Inland Sea, I built

formed by the light shining in through slits in a wall. The

museum and hotel facilities on a decrepit site that was

plain square box is given life by the light. “Fascination” is

bare of trees due to the pollution from a nearby factory.

born in the space from the light of nature.

Before building anything, I had wanted to return the ex-

In the Church on the Water, a cross stands outside

posed mountain back into a green forest. In order not to

upon an expansive pool of water. Those who visit the

ruin the natural landscape, I built most of the architecture

church offer their prayers to the cross that towers before a

underground and planted trees around it. All of the other

background that shows rich change across the seasons. The

Naoshima projects follow this concept. The Chichu Art

scenery changes from moment to moment as the seasons

Museum is also one of them. Through interacting with

change and the sun passes through the sky. It is through

modern artwork set within the rich natural environment,

this change that we feel the presence of life. Here, where

visitors can take their time to think about how to lead a

the architecture resonates with nature, I thought I could

“life with fascination.” I hoped that this juxtaposition of

fascinate people by making them aware of life. I believe

architecture, art, and nature would generate “fascination.”

that the source of all creation lies within my wish to make

The Kyoto Garden of Fine Arts


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ANDO’S PLAN

F E AT U R E : TA D A O A N D O

This diagram from the Garden of Fine Arts reveals concealed excavated levels below ground datum

When you were younger, you were involved with

contains a universe within it. In contrast to the people

the avant-garde Gutai Art Society of Japan. What

who made enormous buildings like Todaiji, there were

kind of influence did you take from them?

also those who made very delicate spaces. Though dif-

I had the opportunity to interact with members of the

ferent in size, both kinds of architecture can instill

Gutai group from the late ’50s to ’60s. I was particularly strongly influenced by the group’s leader, Jiro Yoshihara, who said, “Don’t copy other people. Do what cannot be done by others.” Since then, I have always thought about how to take challenges to do what nobody else could do through architecture. I began studying architecture as a teenager and continued to learn by working throughout my 20s and 30s. I also looked at buildings day and night and gained experience through actually experiencing spaces. I was moved most strongly by the enormous ancient structures of Kyoto and Nara, such as the Nandaimon of Todaiji Temple from the Kamakura Period. I was fascinated by the fact that buildings of such great scale were envisioned in that age and by how there were people who had actually constructed them. I was also moved by the Tai-an, a tearoom made by Sen-no-Rikyu that has the area of only two tatami mats. That extremely small space

strong fascination within visitors. The contrasting Japanese aesthetics of the delicate and bold have been engraved deeply within my heart, and it remains to be a source of my creativity even now. Japanese people have a reputation for being delicate and nimble-fingered, but by taking a look at historical buildings, one can appreciate that the Japanese also have had quite bold and daring imaginations. It is important to see beyond such stereotypes. Anybody living within society should doubt the conventions that they follow and consciously work to break them. I believe that if everybody could lead their lives carrying a curiosity for new concepts, society would in turn become more stimulating and interesting. I hope to provide opportunities for people to realize this through the process of creating architecture. Your ideas are sensational, but do your ideas that step outside of the box ever cause conflicts with your clients? Of course, we are not always in agreement. I take time to engage in conversation with the client before developing a project, and sometimes we throw our ideas against one another. For the Row House in Sumiyoshi, I cut out the

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“ B Y I N S T I L L I N G FA S C I N AT I O N I N T O V I S I T O R S , P E O P L E G AT H E R N AT U R A L L Y, J O I N T O G E T H E R , A N D I N I T I AT E C O N V E R S AT I O N S . ”

The 1993 construction of the Conference Pavilion by Tadao Ando was the architect’s first building outside Japan. The calm and restrained structure encompasses an assortment of conference rooms.


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middle from a line of three row houses and inserted a concrete box. The row houses were originally connected to each other, so it was a daring task to even separate them. The concrete box is divided into three sections, with a courtyard in the center. There are no windows on the exterior walls, but light and wind is brought into the interior through the courtyard. Using this courtyard, I tried to create another universe in the confined space. Rikyu’s Tai-an is a small tearoom, but when one steps inside, it seems to be much bigger because one has a sense of entering another universe. I sought to create the same experience in the Row House at Sumiyoshi. This was an idea borne from the fascination that was engraved within me from my visit to the Tai-an. When the project was built, however, I was criticized by other architects, who said that the house was full of the architect’s ego and that no thought had been given to the people who were going to live there. What was the main reason for this criticism, in your point of view? If one looked at the house from a conventional point of view, it diverged widely from common sense. Most architects tried to make something better by combining what already existed. This is brilliant in itself, but as I have mentioned, I had been trying to break conventions, so I think it is only expected that the building was not understood. You have built your career in a society where academia holds great value. Have you ever felt failure or frustration working in this society? Life is not easy. This is a fact that has been etched into my mind and body. There are so many things that do not go well. But while failure can be depressing when it comes amidst success, there is only failure so I think nothing of it. If you are afraid of failing, you will not be able to open the gates to a new world. In this sense, I am privileged for having developed immunity against failure.


F E AT U R E : TA D A O A N D O

LANDSCAPE

“ W H I L E L O O K I N G AT T H E S I T E , I R E A D T H E C H A R A C T E R I S T I C S O F T H E L A N D , F E E L T H E C O N D I T I O N S O F N AT U R E S U C H AS THE LIGHT AND WIND, AND THEN THINK ABOUT THE PLAN.” TA D A O A N D O

Do you get the inspiration for your architecture after

be able to even move close to the work of Kenzo Tange,

you have visited the site?

but I am always striving to do so. Because I am working

Yes. While looking at the site, I read the characteristics

towards goals, I do not really feel like I am struggling.is to

of the land, feel the conditions of nature such as the light and wind, and then think about the plan. I am not quite skillful enough to develop plans within the virtual space of a computer. I conduct my work through my body, so

create architecture that does this. Some time ago, I built the Church of the Light in Ibaraki in Osaka. The church is an unadorned square box as seen from the exterior, but upon stepping inside, one is faced by a cross formed by the

I must maintain both my physical and mental strength.

light shining in through slits in a wall. The plain square

From the viewpoint of the general public, you are

space from the light of nature.

seen as a man of great success­—it seems that there is a big gap between how you are seen and how you see yourself. I do not care about failure and I do not think too much about success either. I am constantly trying to cross new barriers, so as soon as I jump over one, another appears right away. There is no time for me to be thinking about success. While fighting day in and day out, I am only concerned about whether I am facing the right direction. Seeing the quintessence of Japanese aesthetics in the Tai-an or the Nandaimon at Todaiji, I would think about how I can catch up to the power of the architecture and to the people who made the buildings; or looking at Kenzo Tange’s Yoyogi National Gymnasiums, I would think about how to someday exceed his architecture. I am only trying to live while facing forward. In reality, I will never

box is given life by the light. “Fascination” is born in the

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ARCHITECTURE

F E AT U R E : T O M K U N D I G

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F E AT U R E : T O M K U N D I G

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ARCHITECTURE

F E AT U R E : T O M K U N D I G

SHELTER AT ITS MOST BASIC HUMAN LEVEL an interview with architect tom kundig

W R I T T E N B Y M A R K PAT T E R S O N

Y

ou were one of the recipients of the Arts & Let-

This isn’t the only award that you’ve won this year. You

ters prize for architecture this year. When did

picked up a couple of AIA awards for some of your

you actually find out, and what was your first reaction?

houses. One of them was the Delta Shelter, correct?

It was an honor, an unexpected honor frankly, and I just

Correct. That’s been this little house that has gotten quite

couldn’t be more excited about it. I found out through a

a bit of press, I think, because it is a small house and that’s

letter from the Academy of Arts & Letters written by the

one reason people are kind of intrigued by it. It’s a little

chairman, Richard Meier, announcing or just writing to

house on a relatively large piece of property. In fact, the way

confirm the fact that I was elected this

I describe it is: “little house, big landscape.” I’m finding in

award. It was, again, a total surprise. I

the marketplace out there that there’s more and more inter-

actually knew that I was nominated for

est in the idea of a house being relatively insignificant in the

an award, which was also a surprise, and

landscape because the landscape is frankly more significant.

it was an honor. The Academy is just

People who come to me for a house have more sort of a

one of those terrific institutions in the

sense of the landscape than they necessarily do the houses,

country. I don’t think it goes unnoticed,

so the houses really have to sort of open up both poetically

but I don’t think people understand re-

and conceptually and really to that landscape. Delta Shelter

ally what that Academy really has be-

is purely this little tower that is on stilts, so it gets its body

hind those doors.

out of the water, out of the flood plane, and it gets the owner up into the trees, into the mountains, and it’s a 360-degree view from the piece of property. It opens in all directions.

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“ A RC H IT E C T URE AT I TS C O RE I S TH E ‘I N TERS EC TI O N ’ O F T H E RAT IO N AL AN D TH E PO ETI C . ”

TOM KUNDIG

You were one of the recipients of the Arts & Letters

being relatively insignificant in the landscape because

prize for architecture this year. When did you ac-

the landscape is frankly more significant. People who

tually find out, and what was your first reaction?

come to me for a house have more sort of a sense of

It was an honor, an unexpected honor frankly, and

the landscape than they necessarily do the houses, so

I just couldn’t be more excited about it. I found out through a letter from the Academy of Arts & Letters written by the chairman, Richard Meier, announcing or just writing to confirm the fact that I was elected this award. It was, again, a total surprise. I actually knew that I was nominated for an award, which was also a surprise, and it was an honor. The Academy is just one of those terrific institutions in the country. I don’t think it goes unnoticed, but I don’t think people understand really what that Academy really has be-

the houses really have to sort of open up both poetically and conceptually and really to that landscape. Delta Shelter is purely this little tower that is on stilts, so it gets its body out of the water, out of the flood plane, and it gets the owner up into the trees, into the mountains, and it’s a 360-degree view from the piece of property. It opens in all directions. But it even more literally opens and transforms. Describe how that happens?

hind those doors.

Well, because it is a little tower or tree house, whatever

This isn’t the only award that you’ve won this

views are in all four compass directions. The idea is, al-

year. You picked up a couple of AIA awards for

though it is a weekend house it is a four-season house,

some of your houses. One of them was the Delta

so it really has to morph to the different climatic con-

Shelter, correct?

ditions. It’s a high desert area, so it is very hot in the

Correct. That’s been this little house that has gotten

summer and very cold in the winters. The house can

quite a bit of press, I think, because it is a small house and that’s one reason people are kind of intrigued by it. It’s a little house on a relatively large piece of property. In fact, the way I describe it is: “little house, big landscape.” I’m finding in the marketplace out there that there’s more and more interest in the idea of a house

you want to call it, it is four-sided and the direction of

morph or transform relative to what’s happening out in that landscape. All four sides have windows and all four sides have wall shutters that can kind of modulate the lighting into the box and the view out of the box. It addresses privacy issues.


ARCHITECTURE

F E AT U R E : T O M K U N D I G

Delta Shelter, designed by Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects is a 3,500 square foot custom home.

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Your firm is perhaps best known for its residential,

dential work is that residential work really is one of those

but then you also have the other aspect which is

sort of fundamental, primeval needs that we have as an

museums and cultural spaces. Particularly when it

animal. So once you begin to understand the residential

comes to controlling light, I’m wondering if there are

needs—and I’m not saying the sort of stylistic needs, I’m

any similarities between the two building types?

talking about just those genetic rumblings, those ancient

Architecture is about the manipulation of light: both

rumblings of what shelter means—when you under-

artificial light and day lighting. Architecture is basically shelter and whether that shelter is where you live as a home or a residence, or whether that shelter is a place of a museum or exhibit, as human beings we have needs. We have light needs; we have conditioning needs; we have protection needs; and we have refuge needs. We have all of these sort of shelter needs. So, really there is a natural overlay between the residential shelter and sort of the public venue / exhibit / museum shelter. Some of the things you develop and learn in either area overlap to the others.

stand it at that level, that really becomes probably the most important element of doing a residential project. And because those are primal needs, because those are sort of visceral, primitive needs, they certainly translate to our needs in public buildings. They become a sort of learning ground. A professor of landscape architecture at the University of Oregon, Ron Lovinger, once said to me: truly the best landscape architects in the world, historically, have understood the garden at its root. I think that’s true for architecture, too. Truly the best architects, historically, have been the ones that have understood the home needs, the shelter needs, at its root.

So people need shelter, they need food—and they need light?

It seems like the juxtaposition of spaces is very im-

That’s exactly right. Exactly right. You need all of those

portant in museums, in terms of the light and how it

things. I always say one of the reasons I love doing resi-

penetrates through the building, but how does that


ARCHITECTURE

F E AT U R E : T O M K U N D I G

*

THE DETAILS

the 30ft x 20ft opening glass wall in this design is interesting as it works as a dynamic environmental filter. where the weather provides the opportunity the user can open a whole wall of the house and the connection with the lake and forest becomes all the more intimate.

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F E AT U R E : T O M K U N D I G

ARCHITECTURE

I N A C US TO M H O ME, YO U’RE PAI N TI N G TH E VAL UE S YS TEM O F TH E O WN ER.

TOM KUNDIG

work in residential settings? Is there almost a narrative quality to it? That’s a really good question, too, because again it’s referring to something I was talking about a little earlier: a lot of these needs are frankly sort of primitive needs, genetic needs. At its root, shelter really is about prospect and refuge. It is all about defensible space: about feeling comfortable and protected not only from invasions, other groups of people and animals, but also protection from the elements. You’re always trying to make the building sensitive to all of those issues. The whole idea of prospect and refuge is that idea of, I guess, drama might be one way to describe it—it is a way of shaping a space that meets some of those primitive needs in a poetic way. So the way you move from a more open, prospect situation into a more interior sort of refuge situation, which then opens up into a prospect situation. It’s that yin and yang and you’re always looking for that black and white: in other words, you never see black until you see white. You’re always trying to balance those extremes back towards this middle, which is the place you live. In closing, jm: is it collaboration, or something more than collaboration? I think it’s trying more to understand the different ways of looking at our world. Ultimately, again, I think architects sort of reflect what’s happening in the world. And I think many of these people are doing the same thing. They have a different perspective on it, a different way of understanding. They touch on different parts of our soul. Of course, architecture is about touching a lot of different parts of our soul: visual, aural, even smelling. It’s sort of a like a total emersion in the arts. Well, these folks: some of them are more visual, some of them are more literal, some are more spatial, some are more musical. They are sources of getting in touch with those really important sensitivities that architects need to make special places. I think they’re just terrific people to get to know.

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P A T R I C K P A T R I C K

N A D E A U N A D E A U

I N S T I L L A T I O N I N S T I L L A T I O N

A R T I S T A R T I S T

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s i g n ” w o r k s h o p at t h e e c o l e s u p é r i eure d‘art de design in reims. he eure d‘art de design in reims. he a l s o t e a c h e s i n t e r i o r d e s i g n at l e s ’ also arts

t e a c h e s i n t e r i o r d e s i g n at l e s d é c o r at i e s i n pa r i s . f i n a l ly ,

arts d é c o r at i f s in pa r i s . finally, pat r i c k i s a m e m b e r o f t h e d u j a r d i n pat r i c k i s a m e m b e r o f t h e d u j a r ( o b s e r vat o r y f o r t r e n d s i n t h e g a r -

d i n ( “ o b s e r vat o r y f o r t r e n d s i n t h e den) which is known as the most garden”) which is known as the i n n o vat i v e e c o l o g i c a l g r o u p i n a l l m o s t i n n o vat i v e of europe.

in all of europe.

ecological

group


GALLERY

F E AT U R E : PAT R I C K N A D E A U

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T H E

I N T E R P RE TATI ON

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I S

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O F

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This particular instillation by Patrick Nadeau was designed specifically for the Boffi Gallery and is titled, Le’Circ Koln.

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GALLERY

F E AT U R E : PAT R I C K N A D E A U

THE ORIGINAL LE’VEGETAL DESIGN f e at u r i n g f r a n c e ’s o r i g i n a l e c o l o g i c a l i n s t i l l at i o n a r t i s t W R I T T E N B Y M A R K PAT T E R S O N

W

hat is Vegetal Design? This is a new discipline

Olympic Games and the design of venues for the French

that aims to create objects, furniture and habitat

Ministry of Culture.

in harmony within the plant kingdom. The design of the

In 1997, Patrick opened his one-man studio, develop-

living seeks to “open our senses as much as our minds.”

ing projects at the crossroads of architecture, design and

The architect, designer, and innovator, Patrick Nadeau has

nature. His work was soon recognized by a number of in-

instigated an innovative approach that he made with his

stitutions due to the uniqueness and innovative aspects.

creations and his teaching with students at ESAD in Re-

Patrick now teaches design at the Reims School of Art

ims. Vegetal design is concerned with issues related to the

and Design (ESAD) and at the Ecole Camondo in Paris.

introduction of the living within the built environment,

His teachings are all based on the theory of vegetal design

the scale of the object and everyday spaces. He sees the

and the harmonious integration of plants.

plant as subject to the measure of man and seeks to establish conditions for cooperation.

His objects and instillations have appeared in galleries and museums all over the world such as, the Centre

Following a post-diploma in design at the Charenton

Georges Pompidou. Nadeau was the Winner of the Grand

School of Architecture, Patrick Nadeau teamed up with

Prix of Design of the City of Paris in 1991, he was then

Christian Ghion from 1990 to 1997. During this time,

granted an exhibition to himself in 1993 which was a first

Patrick Nadeau won many competitions and worked on

for the prestigous competition.

a variety of projects, such as the lamp of the Albertville

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AN INTER V IEW WITH NADEAU In this exclusive interview given by Mark Patterson, Nadeau speaks on his theory of vegetal design.

You have been working for a long time on the blending between architecture, design and nature, can you tell us when you felt the need to start working this way, and why? I come from a long lasting generation of agriculturist, my father is an agronomist and I was born and raised in the countryside. As you know, because of some common experiences, I’m an architect interested in design; after starting designing in traditional way, during my stay in Kujoyama in Kyoto, I felt the need to work with natural elements, inspired by the beauty of Japanese gardens. So you were tired of design, of the way it was developing in the 90s after its explosion, or implosion, in the 80s, and this took you to search for other directions? Yes, I was finding design boring and repetitive, and this made me wish for freshness, to leave metaphorically the city and start living in the country, my own individual kind of “70s Hippy movement”. I was living my design in a depressed and depressing way, and the choice made was probably not taken in conscious, but as a result of lack and need. What kind of differences have you noticed while designing in the world of artifact and nature? One of my Italian major philosophers, Benedetto Croce, used to say that aesthetic judgment and the concept of beauty had to be defined in a human artifact’s world, since nature’s something incommensurable. In one of his works a tree trunk develops in concentric circles, he seeks for the first circle, he does it to reach the essence to understand how nature works. Even in my work on nature what guides me is curiosity, the need to understand how plant life evolves; I try to put on stage the plant kingdom creating “interior landscapes”.


F E AT U R E : PAT R I C K N A D E A U

GALLERY

“I use the vegetal to enrich our domestic or profes-

specialised in installing lawns, vegetal roofs and terraces.

sional environments. We can integrate the vegetal into this environment to improve our quality of life.”

“Normally the plants get by on their own, but the company will come in and check on them once a year,”

Using vegetation in our everyday environment, be it

he said, “The goal is that it becomes an eco-system, that

inside or outside, “Procures a centre of proximity with na-

plants will then come naturally to join the ones that have

ture, it is an architectural material that is very sensitive,“

been put in place.”

he said.

Mr. Nadeau likes working with epiphytes, plants that

This autumn his Maison-vague will be inaugurated in

grow upon other plants but are not parasitic. They grow

a housing project in Sillery near Reims. The designer has

without soil and usually at a height, which lends space.

put to use the vegetal in the project for its architectural

One of his favourites is Tillandsia usneoides, commonly

and environmental qualities, notably in terms of insula-

called Spanish moss.

tion providing for substantial savings in energy costs. It insulates in the winter and keeps in the cool in the summer, explained Mr. Nadeau. Inside the ‘wave of vegetation” on the outside is the living room, kitchen and multi-media space on the ground floor. The plants that cover the outside “shell” of the residence were chosen for their resistance and low maintenance. An automatic watering system using atomisers has been included but should only be necessary during periods of extreme drought. The choice of the plants is key to the success of a project. The flowering plants of the Sedum genus, the thymes, members of the Gramineae family and even lavenders adapt well to vegetal architecture and design. “You have to choose plants that accept to live like that. Selecting the plants is a job in and of itself,” he said. He works with the French company Ecovégétal that is

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This particular instillation by Patrick Nadeua is titled, “Rocaille 03’ and is made from birch plywood and terracotta. 2012, Paris.


GALLERY

F E AT U R E : PAT R I C K N A D E A U

“Nature Individuelle” is a another series of installed objects

small pots which rest on the floor to large standing divid-

by french designer, Patrick Nadeau, this instillation em-

ers which house taller plants. Nadeau’s main purpose of

phasizes the importance of nature and plants in our world.

these instillations is to integrate ones own interior design

Through these autonomous objects, he invites and pushes

with nature. Nadeua’s passion of plant and vegetal integra-

individuals to take a piece of nature and integrate it into

tion has been displayed over years. He truly believes that

their lives. Nadeau wants to expand and give people the

with the implementation of plants into ones life through

opportunity of ownership in terms of the environment and

design, plants can create a more harmonious and relaxing

landscape which surrounds them. Each object is a con-

living space.

struction of plants which can be adapted within a number of different environments, with pieces ranging from

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UPCYCLING

D E P A R T M E N T: P R O D U C T S

OLD MATERIALS, NEW CONTEXT natural and upc ycled materials make for t r e n d y s tat e m e n t s t h at g o b e y o n d r e c y c l i n g

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ecycling means to turn waste into a reusable product or to refurbish a product for reuse. Upcycling, a particular form of recycling, involves turning waste

material or an unwanted product into a better-quality product. When considering what to do with unwanted products or materials, consider whether upcycling the items or recycling them in another fashion would be most beneficial to your budget and the environment. Recycling follows the philosophy that used items can still be useful­—or provide useful materials. Upcycling aligns with this philosophy but takes it a step further, asserting that items made from recycled materials can be even more desirable than the original products. This practice stands in contrast to the common practice of downcycling, which means turning a product into something less desirable. For example, the quality of many plastics downgrades through continued reuse; thus, they’re used to produce increasingly less valuable products. Upcycling projects involve creative ways of using

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V E R S I O N

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P R O C E S S H I G H E R

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UPCYCLING

old products and materials. Such projects can serve as an engaging way to teach children about green living or as a fun hobby for adults. A number of designers have thriving upcycling businesses, turning used products into attractive garments, accessories or household accents. Typically, they want their customers to know the items have been creatively designed from used products, reaching out to a customer base that appreciates this practice. The former use of the product is often apparent, rather than hidden, to play up the creative aspect. Turning every recyclable item into an upcycling project may not be practical. Furthermore, fixing a broken item may be the simplest—and greenest—solution. If you’re debating how to reuse an item, let common sense prevail. If you can glue together the lid of your broken teapot, it doesn’t need to become a flowerpot just yet­—which saves you from buying a new teapot. Simply strive to minimize new purchases, refurbishing or upcycling your existing items in whatever way they can serve you best. Upcycling projects can be as simple as folding an old newspaper into a biodegradable flowerpot. Other options include jewelry made from zippers, felted slip-

pers made from the wool of used sweaters, bags made from crocheted strips of plastic grocery bags and Tshirts turned into trendy children’s dresses. Some recycled products may not look as overtly repurposed as upcycled items. For example, paving surfaces that incorporate rubber from old tires do not look like used tires. Likewise, containers made from recycled plastic don’t look different from other containers. Similarly, a refurbished coffee machine from a thrift shop may look similar to a neighbor’s new coffee machine and brew.

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MAT E RIA L O F T H E YE AR: C O RK Cork is not just the stuff of wine bottles, bulletin boards

In a microbe lab test, Suberra cork received the high-

and chaise lounges. It is the cultural identity of a coun-

est (superior) rating for resistance to contamination by

try. It is a unique and healthy method of farming and

E.coli, salmonella and listeria. Last year at ICCF the

material sourcing. It is a model for efficiency, re-use and

material du jour was felt; while its presence is still being,

even large-scale power generation. What other material

well, felt, this year the stuff that dreams are made of is

offers opportunities like this? Let’s indulge our design

cork. ICCF (The International Contemporary Furni-

curiosity and find out.

ture Fair) named cork as the top material for industrial

Whereas wood gets its defining properties from a

and interior designers due to its flexibility and environ-

high cellulose content, it is largely suberin that charac-

mentally friendly attributes. This natural trend should

terizes cork. Suberin is impermeable to water and air.

maintain some staying power due to cost efficiency.

*

NEW CORK PRODUCTS 2. UMBRELLAS

$90 at www.queork.com. Water resistant and Vegan certified.

2

3

4

5

3. COFFEE SLEEVES

At www.coolcorc.com Order in bulk for your company.

4. WATCHES

$65 at Nordstrom Biodegradable band by SPROUTTM

5. SHOES

$525 at www.eluxry.com Design by Maison Martin Margiela


UPCYCLING

D E P A R T M E N T: P R O D U C T S

1. TURN TABLE

$400 at Sannheiser Designed by Matthew Lim

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Take action at www.wwf.org


Before it’s

too late.


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HIGH LINE

D E P A R T M E N T: L A N D S C A P E

MIRACLE ABOVE MANHATTAN a natural e scape in the most urban of env ironments

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arks in large cities are usually thought of as refuges, as islands of green amid seas of concrete and steel. When you approach the High Line in the Chelsea

neighborhood on the lower west side of Manhattan, what you see first is the kind of thing urban parks were created to get away from—a harsh, heavy, black steel structure supporting an elevated rail line that once brought freight cars right into factories and warehouses and that looks, at least from a distance, more like an abandoned relic than an urban oasis. Until recently the High Line was, in fact, an urban relic, and a crumbling one at that. Many of its neighbors, as well as New York’s mayor for much of the 1990s, Rudolph Giuliani, couldn’t wait to tear it down. His administration, aware that Chelsea was gentrifying into a neighborhood of galleries, restaurants, and loft living, felt the surviving portion of the High Line, which winds its way roughly a mile and a half from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street (a section farther south was torn down years ago), was an ugly deadweight. They were certain this remnant of a different kind of city had to be removed for the neighborhood to realize its full potential. Never have public officials been so wrong.

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Almost a decade after the Giuliani administration

to surprise and delight. Not the least of the remarkable

tried to tear the High Line down, it has been turned into

things about the High Line is the way, without streets

one of the most innovative and inviting public spaces

to cross or traffic lights to wait for, ten blocks pass as

in New York City and perhaps the entire country. The

quickly as two.

black steel columns that once supported abandoned train

New York is a city in which good things rarely happen

tracks now hold up an elevated park—part promenade,

easily and where good designs are often compromised, if

part town square, part botanical garden. The southern

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third, which begins at Gansevoort Street and extends

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to West 20th Street, crossing Tenth Avenue along the

A M A Z I N G

way, opened in the summer of 2009. This spring a second

C R E A T E

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section will open, extending the park ten more blocks,

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roughly a half mile, to 30th Street. Eventually, supporters hope, the park will cover the rest of the High Line. Walking on the High Line is unlike any other

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experience in New York. You float about 25 feet above the ground, at once connected to street life and far away from

they are built at all. The High Line is a happy exception,

it. You can sit surrounded by carefully tended plantings

that rare New York situation in which a wonderful idea

and take in the sun and the Hudson River views, or

was not only realized but turned out better than anyone

you can walk the line as it slices between old buildings

had imagined. It isn’t often in any city, let alone New York,

and past striking new ones. I have walked the High

that an unusually sophisticated concept for a public place

Line dozens of times, and its vantage point, different

makes its way through the design process, the political

from that of any street, sidewalk, or park, never ceases

process, and the construction process largely intact. The


D E P A R T M E N T: L A N D S C A P E

HIGH LINE

New Yorkers can float over busy streets in an innovative park

designers were landscape architect James Corner of Field

Early in the two and a half decades that the High Line

Operations and the architecture firm of Diller Scofidio +

was unused and untouched, an obsessive rail buff named

Renfro, who joined forces to produce the winning scheme

Peter Obletz purchased the elevated structure for ten

in a competition that pitted them against such notables as

dollars from Conrail with the intention of restoring it to

Zaha Hadid, Steven Holl, and landscape architect Michael

rail use. Obletz’s ownership was held up in a five-year legal

Van Valkenburgh.

battle, which he lost. He died in 1996 but is, in a sense, a

Their plan struck a balance between refinement and

spiritual parent of the High Line preservation effort. So

the rough-hewn, industrial quality of the High Line. “We

is photographer Joel Sternfeld. During the derelict years

envisioned it as one long, meandering ribbon but with

he made striking images of the High Line as a ribbon

special episodes,” Corner told me. “We wanted to keep

of green snaking through an industrial cityscape. Widely

the feeling of the High Line consistent but at the same

reproduced, his photographs played a significant role in

time have some variations.” The design included sleek

building a constituency for saving the line for public use.

wooden benches that appear to peel up from the park

Sternfeld showed that this clunky industrial object really

surface, but also kept many of the original train tracks,

could look like a park.

setting them into portions of the pavement and landscape. Working with Dutch landscape architect Piet Oudolf, Corner recommended a wide range of plantings, with heavy leanings toward tall grasses and reeds that recalled the wildflowers and weeds that had sprung up during the High Line’s long abandonment. (The line, which opened in 1934, was little used after the 1960s, didn’t travel down the track until 1980.)

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From the day the first section of the High Line opened in June 2009, it has been one of the city’s major tourist attractions, and you are as likely to hear visitors speaking German or Japanese as English. Yet it is just as much a neighborhood park. When I joined Hammond for a walk along the High Line on a sunny day last fall, a section the designers had designated as a kind of sun deck was jammed, and there seemed to be as many locals treating the area as the equivalent of their own beach as visitors out for a promenade. The line runs through former industrial neighborhoods now defined by flats, restaurants, nightclubs, art, and fashion, and this area is being transformed by the project. The 2005 re-zoning that approved the park also allowed for new construction alongside the track and last year New York magazine identified an already-emerging “High Line neighborhood”, complete with “glittering retail spaces and restaurants and condos”, as well as High Line-themed restaurants and festivals. The sun deck area is one of the places James Corner likes to refer to as “episodes” along the High Line. There are more in the first section, because the route bends and turns, slips under three different buildings to become briefly tunnel-like, then opens up to offer vistas of the midtown skyline or the Hudson River. At the point at which the High Line crosses Tenth Avenue, it morphs once again, this time into an amphitheater-like space suspended over the avenue, allowing you to sit and watch the traffic glide beneath you. The route of the elevated line straightens out in the second section, north of 20th Street, presenting the designers with a different kind of challenge. “It’s all wide open with views of the city, and then all of a sudden you’re walking between two building walls,” Corner said. “It’s dead straight, and we had to make it so you didn’t feel you were in a corridor.” He decided to start off the second section with a dense thicket of plantings, much heavier than anything in the first section, on the theory that if he couldn’t make the tightness go away, he should accentuate its drama for a block or so, then quickly downshift to a relaxed, open lawn. After that comes what the designers call the flyover: a metal structure that lifts the walkway up and allows a dense landscape of plantings to grow beneath. North of that is another seating area, this one looking down onto the street through an enormous white frame that alludes to the billboards that once adorned the neighboring buildings. Just beyond, a long stretch of promenade is lined with wildflowers.


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The only true method.

Method Š Kitchen Handwash now available at participating Target™ stores and www.method.com


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NEXT

NEXT ISSUE:

A R T F U L

E N E R G Y

Imagine a power plant in the middle of a wildlife

City’s Freshkills Park seemed like the ideal choice.

of art. That’s exactly what the Land Art Generator

world’s largest landfill to a 2,200-acre preserve is now

sanctuary. Try to picture an energy source as a work

Initiative asked designers and architects to do. For its

second site-specific design competition the non-profit organization (LAGI for short), sought to inspire plans

for land art installations with the duel function of being both ornamental attractions for visitors and sources of

renewable energy. This time the initiative found a kindred spirit in a parks department that has asked citizens to envision a dumping ground as a place of natural beauty.

When LAGI’s directors were considering places

on which to focus their 2012 contest, New York

The location’s transformation from what was once the

being undertaken in stages over a 30-year development phase with a similar intent as the one informing LAGI’s

own mission — questioning assumptions and repairing

environmental damage with smart sustainable methods. And when it comes to alternative energy, the park has

already begun harvesting methane from decomposing garbage to heat area homes.


ARCHITECTURE

F E AT U R E : T O M K U N D I G

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