ROD: rod-bended front desk
2016 VMODERN Furniture Design Competition
Maria Smigielska, Pierre Cutellic
This design and fabrication furniture project started as a research for a commission to complete the space of an Art & Architecture gallery in Paris. The immediate contextual constraints made such a project to blur disciplines and codes between scales, resolutions functions and materiality. Its main requirements were to function both as a front desk, and a landing step for a sur-elevated corridor, while avoiding an existing structural post. Two main horizontal planes were then used to drive the shape and derive a proto-structural envelope to be optimized and play with the site conditions. Following an integral design strategy, we then iteratively optimized this envelope, constrained by the two planes and their applied forces, to both provoke an architectonic directional behavior reflecting the inner façade of the gallery space, and construct structural conditions (cantilevering, anchorage, u-shape beam assembly, 3d truss elements). To follow such design logic, we opted for one single material component — metal rod — of one single standard size – 6mm diameter and 990mm length — which would be subject to differentiations in space through the single process of non-standard roboticized rod bending, and TIG welded on site. From there, started an intensive research between volumetric and surface design readings, morphostructal varied grids and differentiation, multi-resolution continuities, simulation and robotic fabrication.
The final furniture is a desk of 5.5m length, 1.4m width and 0.75m height. Its structural performances are not overemphasized but rather used to amplify its relations with the surrounding space. While functional and flowing directionally with the circulations of the gallery, its material conditions and fabrication process makes it both a sequential, standard and industrial object, and a differentiated one. Its morphostructural state, halfway between volumetric and surfacic, structural, ornamental and functional makes it a deeper object to reflect the artistic content hosted by the gallery itself.