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Subdivided Columns

Gwangju Design Biennale 2011

The Sixth Order installation by Michael Hansmeyer opens at the Gwangju Design Biennale 2011. The installation engages the main theme of the Biennale 'dogadobisando' (design is design is not design) by presenting not a designed object, but instead proposing the design of a process to generate objects.

The Sixth Order involves the development a column order based on subdivision processes. It explores how a procedural approach to form can define and embellish this column order with an elaborate system of ornament. This approach inherently shifts the focus from a single object to a family of objects: endless permutations of a theme can be generated. For the Gwangju Biennale, a single process was used to generate four individual columns. The resulting columns have not a single surface or motif in common, yet due to their shared constituent process, they form a coherent group.

When entering the exhibition room, the viewer at first perceives sixteen columns. This effect, created by the use of two floor-to-ceiling mirrors on adjoining walls, is intentionally accentuated by the columns' design. Thus the columns are symmetrical along only a single axis, and they have a different appearance when seen from the front or the back. In effect, two column permutations are united in a single column - with eight virtual models forming the four physical objects.

While the procedural approach to design enables this multiplicity of output, it also expands the solution space on the level of the single object. It thus allows the creation of objects that are otherwise undrawable - and perhaps even unimaginable - in terms of their detail and complexity.

Exhibition Images

Design and Fabrication

Each of the columns is based on the same design principles as the first column prototype that was built at ETH's RapLab and exhibited in Spring 2011. Unlike this first prototype, the columns for Gwangju were fabricated with a CNC router and are made of 1mm and 0.9mm thick slices of ABS plastic. They contain a dual core of wood and steel for alignment and stability respectively. The columns are built in Nanjing, China. Special assistance was provided by Professor Li Biao of Southeastern University, as well as by Hua Hao.

Link: Initial Column Prototype

Design of middle section of a column using subdivision processes. The application is written in Processing.

Slicing of the column geometry to obtain the cutting paths for the CNC router

Gwangju Design Biennale

The Gwangju Design Biennale is an international design event held in Gwangju, South Korea. In its current form it comprises four large themed exhibition halls with installations, workshops and events. As the first design biennale of its kind, the Gwangju Design Biennale pursues the convergence and consilience of all design fields, rather than classifying each genre, and features cubic and experimental activities of visual culture.

The Gwangju Design Biennale 2011, curated by Seung H-sang and Ai Weiwei will be held from September 2nd to October 23rd, 2011.

Link: Gwangju Design Biennale 2011
Link: Further information on columns


Page last modified on October 20, 2011, at 11:39 AM