Image credit: Lawrence Lek[/caption] For the Design Museum's 2012 Designer-in-Residence commission, I created ‘Unlimited Edition’, a series of bent-plywood modules that combine to form objects and environments that users can customize into pavilions and urban installations. By referencing psychological Rorschach tests, which ask subjects to interpret unfamiliar inkblot shapes based on things they already know, I wanted to incorporate the element of subjectivity into the organic structures that compose the project. [caption id="attachment_312" align="alignnone" width="360"] The translation from ink blot to plywood
Image credit: Lawrence Lek[/caption]
Image credit: Luke Hayes[/caption] Fortunately, the residency gave me the chance to treat my proposal just like a Diploma project. I constructed numerous models using paper and thin plywood to experiment with form before progressing to full-size pieces. By combining digital design techniques, such as computer controlled CNC routing and laser cutting with hand assembly, I customized the modules to expand or contract, soaking each piece in water before it is bent and braced in place while it dries. The full-size modules were made from a single cut of standard 8-feet tall plywood sheets, minimizing costly fabrication time. By working with the inherent symmetry of the material, which bends along the grain of the wood, I was able to achieve a consistent molding of modules. The shell-like shapes provided rigidity while allowing them to be stacked for transportation and storage. When assembled together, they create pavilions, spaces and usable objects that invite the user to nurture individual responses to their new environment.
Image credit: Lawrence Lek[/caption] The idea for the pavilion is essentially an object in a space, but one that you can enter at the same time. At the AA there is a tradition of building pavilions, where the structures mediate between, the school, Bedford Square and London. I conceived ‘Unlimited Edition’ with an interior quality that frames the city from the inside – where the city becomes an object rather than the other way around. During the residency, I moved into a studio in the White Building, a new arts and technology centre in Hackney Wick. There, across the canal from the Olympic Park, I assembled “Unlimited Edition” into a pavilion, a platform for other activities to happen, into the beginnings of a new city. I’m still working on it... [caption id="attachment_310" align="alignnone" width="360"] Unlimited Edition - "A platform for other activities to happen"
Image credit: Lawrence Lek[/caption] For more information: Lawrence Lek Designer in Residence 2012 movie