Author Archives: lauranica

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Project Summary

S(l)OSH (standing for ‘ slosh= to move through mud’) is a new Pop-Up Spa situated in Hackney Road, in East London. It is designed as an interactive relaxation area to be experienced through exploring and reflecting within a cavernous space, surrounded by mysterious voids, while soaking in a healing mud tub. S(l)OSH represents a new concept of fun mud house, that tells a different side of the wellness story.

The Spa aims to promote the cleaning and health rituals around the world and invite the users to become aware of the areas in need of healthy kickstarts. The new concept started from the idea that spas and relaxation areas are generally luxurious places to relax and heal and sometimes they are too expensive for the general citizen. S(l)OSH wants to bring healthy hedonism to the city while boosting urban areas that need a little support, while making the cleaning and health rituals accessible and fun to everyone.

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Bathhouses, spas and saunas have long been part of cleaning and health rituals around the world. Mud baths have existed for thousands of years, and can be found now in high-end spas in many countries of the world. Mud wraps are spa treatments where the skin is covered in mud for a shorter or longer period. The mud causes sweating, and proponents claim that mud baths can slim and tone the body, hydrate or firm the skin, or relax and soothe the muscles. It is alleged that some mud baths are able to relieve tired and aching joints, ease inflammation, or help to “flush out toxins” through sweating.2aOpportunity

The design is composed of layers of horizontal wooden planks that follow the mathematical formula of a Scherk’s Minimal Surface geometry of a continuous surface, placed in and around a shipping container. The Spa has been designed after several form manipulation and shape iterations of the initial system, followed by massing of standard bath tubs in a tight space. The proposal stands somewhere between the realms of both sculpture and architecture – a spatial construct where movement through will encourage intimate social interaction, and a full emerge into the relaxation experience.

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Physical Description

Visually, the main part of the Spa is composed of three main areas: the reception, the mud baths and the outdoor pools. The spas includes hot mud tubes, cold water plunges, a changing area, shower and relaxation platforms. The structure will be built from layers of horizontal CNC cut wooden planks stacked on top of each other and fixed together. Internally, the bathtubes will have a smooth concrete walls to hold the liquid and make the stay more pleasant for the sitting. Despite being designed to fit in one or two containers, the spa can expand even outdoors and other spaces.

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In mathematics, a Scherk surface (named after Heinrich Scherk in 1834) is an example of a minimal surface. A minimal surface is a surface that locally minimizes its area (or having a mean curvature of zero). The classical minimal surfaces of H.F. Scherk were initially an attempt to solve Gergonne’s problem, a boundary value problem in the cube.

The term ‘minimal surface’ is used because these surfaces originally arose as surfaces that minimized total surface area subject to some constraint. Physical models of area-minimizing minimal surfaces can be made by dipping a wire frame into a soap solution, forming a soap film, which is a minimal surface whose boundary is the wire frame. However the term is used for more general surfaces that may self-intersect or do not have constraints. For a given constraint there may also exist several minimal surfaces with different areas (for example, minimal surface of revolution, Saddle Towers etc.).

Scherk's Surface Soap experiments

Scherk’s minimal surface arises from the solution to a differential equation that describes a minimal monge patch (a patch that maps [u, v] to [u, v, f(u, v)]). The full surface is obtained by putting a large number the small units next to each other in a chessboard pattern. The plots were made by plotting the implicit definition of the surface.

An implicit formula for the Scherk tower is:

sin(x) · sin(z) = sin(y),

where x, y and z denote the usual coordinates of R3.

Scherk’s second surface can be written parametrically as:

x = ln((1+r²+2rcosθ)/(1+r²-2rcosθ))

y = ((1+r²-2rsinθ)/(1+r²+2rsinθ)) 

z = 2tan-1[(2r²sin(2θ))/(r-1)]      

for θ in [0,2), and r in (0,1).

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Scherk described two complete embedded minimal surfaces in 1834; his first surface is a doubly periodic surface, his second surface is singly periodic. They were the third non-trivial examples of minimal surfaces (the first two were the catenoid and helicoid). The two surfaces are conjugates of each other.

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Scherk’s first surface

Scherk’s first surface is asymptotic to two infinite families of parallel planes, orthogonal to each other, that meet near z = 0 in a checkerboard pattern of bridging arches. It contains an infinite number of straight vertical lines.

Scherk’s second surface

Scherk’s second surface looks globally like two orthogonal planes whose intersection consists of a sequence of tunnels in alternating directions. Its intersections with horizontal planes consists of alternating hyperbolas.

Other types are:

  1. The doubly periodic Scherk surface
  2. The Karcher-Scherk surface
  3. The sheared (Karcher-)Scherk surface
  4. The doubly periodic Scherk surface with handles
  5. The Meeks-Rosenberg surfaces

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Scherk’s surface can have many iterations, according to the number of saddle branches, number of holes, turn around the axis and bends towards the axis. Some of the design iterations and adaptations of the system are presented below:

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Scherk’s Surface can be adapted to several design possibilities, with multiple ways of fabrication. Interlocked slices using laser cut plywood sheets, folded planes of metal or CNC stacked wooden slices. With its versatile and flexible form it is adaptable to any interior space as an installation or temporary furniture.

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