The third prototype was a fairly straightforward response to the blank “gap” between the pipe bundle and the large heavily-used door. I used two branch pipes as points of connection, and stretched the form toward the door (it “clings” to both sides of the gap). Its tapered form abstracts the motion of someone rounding the stairs on their ascent. In functional terms, this could be used as a momentary resting shelf or info distribution point.

This design is maybe too literal a response to the shapes in the space, and does not address the overall feel of the stairwell that well.

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Review comments:

  • Maybe it wants to be made of some stretchy material – fabric?
  • Make the connection points more organically integrated into the shape of the object.

My 2nd cardboard prototype. A semi-direct response to the large vertical pipes running through the space. Its stepped heights also mimic the spiral motion of climbing the stairs. It contains a notion about nesting within a space left over by human activity (behind/within the pipe tangle).

It was judged attractive, but not as fully/deeply responsive to the space as I would have liked.

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Review comments:

  • If they are supposed to be a nest, drive them even further back into the pipes.
  • Exaggerate the form more: make them longer, taller
  • Emphasize the biological aspect more: mold, fungus, nesting, taking root; current form is more “totemic” than “biomorphic”

The first of my built cardboard prototypes. The concept was that a wisp of the traffic going up the stairs swirled off (an eddy) and got caught among the overhead pipes. It also contained a notion about putting unwanted memories in at the bottom, and having them eventually rain out the top (perhaps years later). The piece is designed to balance on the pipe and swing freely. It also has some sound-amplifying quality.

By balancing it at different points on the pipe, very different effects were achieved. Also, while re-installing the piece for these photos, I tried it in several new positions (potentially helpful):

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Review comments:

  • evokes a “grub thing” hanging in space
  • its balancing nature is appealing
  • shape as an offshoot of stair traffic is not convincing – doesn’t bring the right motion
  • does not appear “melted” over the pipe, like some of my precedent images

Translated into pipe form, this may be a valid minimalist solution for Lawrence Hall:

Lunuganga: Branch Shelf from WOK Media

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The beauty of this simple shelf rests in its visual trickery of emerging from the wall. WOK Media’s Branch Shelf was inspired by trees submerged in water that the London-based designers encountered when they spent time in Sri Lanka…

via Lunuganga: Branch Shelf from WOK Media | Apartment Therapy New York.

Another example at the “fragmented” (but extremely dignified) end of the spectrum: Frédéric Ruyant Wooden Tribu Table: Low tables in natural-stained solid American walnut.

via Frédéric Ruyant Wooden Tribu Table.

This begins to answer my question about how to interpret plastic forms in wood…


Also on the “smooth” end of the spectrum–and capturing some of the drooping/slumped imagery I am going for, albeit in glass–is Pieke Bergmans’s work.

How to interpret forms like this in wood may be a difficult question.

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via Dezeen » Blog Archive » Vitra Virus by Pieke Bergmans.
and DesignBoom

Note: this work seems to upset a lot of people. I like it more for the slumped forms–and having one object take on the form of another–than for the incineration of classic furniture.