Celestial Field


Whatever your creed your reliance on the sun is unquestionable.

We have worshipped it as a God.

Spent lifetimes studying it through science.

Yet human hands will never touch its surface.

Celestial Field brings our sun to the Playa for us to dance in its glory.

Triggering our own solar flare.

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Internal perspective of the Celestial Field Pavilion

 

From the dawn of time the sun has been a constant in human life. It has been central to the beliefs of nearly every civilisation throughout history. What was once an astrological wonder sustaining life; dictating when to plant and harvest our crops; evolved into a god and deity, woven into the stories and teachings of nearly every culture, from the Egyptians to the Ancient Greeks and even Christianity.

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Sun symbolism from across the globe and through the ages

 

The oldest man-made structures in the world have resounding astrological connections to both the sun and constellations, covered in carvings they unquestionably align to major astrological events.

Newgrange in Boyne Valley, Ireland, thought to be built in 3500BC, has a tomb in which sits a stone basin lit by a single beam of light at sunrise on the winter solstice.

 

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Newgrange Tomb- Borne Valley, Ireland; built around a single beam of light that exists only for a moment each year

 

The Egyptians, Greeks, and Christians have all referenced the sun within their religion and beliefs.

The Egyptians in 3000BC had Ra, the Greeks in 400BC believed Helios to be God of the sun, and Christians have often depicted Jesus in front of what is thought by many to be the solar cross.

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Ra, Helios and Jesus all depicted with solar symbols

 

In the past the sun has been depicted as a 2Dimensional disk of light travelling across the sky before dying only to be reborn at sunrise.

The Ancient Greeks believed Helios to be the personification of the sun. A man with a many rayed crown of light, pulling the sun across the open sky with a horse drawn chariot. The Helios named after the Greek god has been used and adapted through the ages, with one of the most recognisable iterations being the logo of global corporation BP which symbolises “a number of things – not least the greatest source of energy … the sun itself..” – bp.com

 

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Building the Helios

 

This once celestial being has now become a tangible thing. Through advances in our technological and scientific capability we have gained an understanding of the suns chemical make-up, uncovering many of its secrets from sun spots to solar flares. Although we have developed an increased understanding of the forces driving the sun, it is still no more accessible to us mere humans than on the first day on earth remaining an impenetrable sphere in the sky only to viewed from a far.

 

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Physical model light testing

 

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Digital animation of lighting tests

 

The suns surface has taught us much. Galileo’s sun spot diagrams unknowingly demonstrated the unique fluidity of the suns chromosphere. Further study of these sun spots and magnificent solar flares proved that the surface of the sun is covered in billions of interlaced magnetic fields all interacting together to form the whole. When these fields cross swirling plasma burst in an instance out into the corona bringing with it immense light displays that can be seen on earth as the aurora.

 

magnetic-fields
Recording magnetic fields with computer models and physical experiments

 

In an age where endless streams of newfound knowledge are accessible with the touch of a finger – it is easy to lose our sense of innocent amazement and unquestioning awe. We have a constant need for explanation of why and how phenomena exist, no longer blindly excepting their beauty and revelling in it.

The indescribable beauty of these gigantic magnetic fields can often be lost and forgotten in the mundane when scaled down to earthly objects. Viewing them at a micro scale allows us to connect with their other-worldly nature.

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Macro photographs of physical tests of magnetic structure using iron filings

 

Science has taught us how a magnet attracts and repels enabling use in industry, medicine and everyday life. And as our knowledge expands, we move from child to adulthood and our desire to play diminishes – burdened by explanations and reasoning; we are no longer in awe of our ability to make metal move without laying hands on it. It has become the norm and the expected, it is no longer ‘magic’.

Life should be fun and full of mesmerising moments. Our increased knowledge should enable and enhance our experience of ‘magic’ not hinder it.

 

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Experimenting with magnetism to define levels of sensitivity for large scale interaction

 

Celestial Fields captures the unexplainable wonderment the sun once held and makes it accessible through modern mediums, combining two worlds; science and enchantment, imbedding them on the Playa at Black Rock City, Nevada, for people to explore and lose themselves in.

Thousands of swaying rods made of tubes of one-way mirror form an undulating field, rising high above your head, and falling like the plasma pulled in all directions by the phenomenal magnetic forces found on our sun.

By day a field of mirrors reflect and intensify the suns natural beauty and power. Creating a maze of ever changing light to explore, push through and play within. At sunset everything transforms. The field morphs, bursting into a sea of glowing beams reacting to movement and mimicking the fluid, almost pulsing nature of the suns corona.

Like the chromosphere, magnetic fields have informed density and pattern, creating patches of pure brightness and areas as dark as sunspots. With each rod built on a spring loaded base it can be pushed a manipulated, enabling you to forge your own path through the densest areas of Celestial Field, parting rods like magnets repelling polarised iron.

 

Individual rods are clad in a one-way mirror film - creating a reflection of the desert in the day and an illuminated environment at night
Individual rods are clad in a one-way mirror film – creating a reflection of the desert in the day and an illuminated environment at night

 

Movement through the sprung rods creates interest not only for the participants but also onlookers. During daylight hours people weaving in and out can be seen across the playa through the constant glinting of the sun on the reflective rods. An ever changing shimmer, like sunlight dancing across water in the distance, drawing people in from all directions out of wonder and intrigue.

Once the sun has set the lights come on, and the show only gets better. The rods now glow and pulse, changing colour, transforming the world around them – each equipped with a sensor so as to react to movement as people push past; creating tracks of swirling light shifting like the turbulent surface of the sun. Areas of intense and overwhelming light can occur when people team together to trigger a cluster of rods forming a concentration of light evocative of a solar flare.

The sun is not solely about light, with it comes inevitable darkness. Shadows too have been used throughout time as a symbol in opposition to that of the sun; and in this instance the areas of shadow formed in the magnetic layout create areas of calm within the thrill of the lights where one can sit and ponder everything from the dessert to the sky and the sun that brings life to earth.

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The pavilion layout is informed by the patterns of sunspots and flares forming on the suns surface

 

What was once worshipped as a distant god and celestial being can now exist on the surface of the earth as a Celestial Field in Nevada. The sun has risen and set, bringing with it heat and light; powering life on earth since the dawn of time, a focus of incomprehensible wonder and fascination for each and every culture across the globe.

Celestial Field intends to reignite our faith in the intangible, while showing us there are powers and beauty still to be found in the modern world.

 

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S(l)OSH Pop-Up – Spa of Algorithmic Knowledge and Mud-

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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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Philosophy

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.

Brief 3 - S(l)OSH SPA (FINAL)Brief 3 - S(l)OSH SPA (FINAL)2 Brief 3 - S(l)OSH SPA (FINAL)3 Brief 3 - S(l)OSH SPA (FINAL)4 Brief 3 - S(l)OSH SPA (FINAL)5 Brief 3 - S(l)OSH SPA (FINAL)6

 

Focus

Focus_Day RenderBurning Man Art Instalation Proposal

Focus when assembled would be a material artifact, approximately 8-9meters height tower, triangular plan with the central focal point, where is the place for the fire.

The tower envelope consists of three walls that form a continuous surface. Wall construction should follow a simple process, adding rows of intersecting components one after another, starting from the base until the last row.

The design of Focus started by looking into a mathematical system of an Euclid’s algorithm and it was a way to generate it’s constituent elements, but it didn’t define the final physical form. The mathematical expression was left at some point during the creative process, when it was found as a formalized system that is closed and univocal and does not contain qualities of the artwork.

Focus_Building Sequence-01

Although this artwork started as a mathematical formula, which was a rational and ideal expression intended for the rational and conceptual human being. Later Focus became a work of art when an intention of it was to be understandable and perceivable to all, this was achieved by mixing sensible matter and form of mathematical symbols with conceptual content.

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Focus physical model2

Focus expresses itself in its own name and name holds its meaning. The name Focus has multiple meanings as the art work will always have embedded message given by the artist, but at the same time it is not necessary to know the story behind it. It will have a meaning that participants would give to it themselves. In Latin, the word Focus means hearth, fireplace, center of interest or activity, but it is not necessary to know the meaning to understand it. Focus would be a perceptive expression, as perception is the act and the result of the act, which consists through the senses and the mind.

Focus Interior Space

Focus would create strong sensual experiences for the participants and observers. It is designed to play with visual, tactile, aural experiences and perception of these qualities would bring a human being into play with his own entity.

Its purpose would be a matter of expression.  It would be at the service of nothing and no one, but at the same time it would exist to act on the human beings.

Focus_Night Image

Focus is the autonomous work for the autonomous human being who wanders around or goes inside to find what it holds, searching for the constitution of a meaning or, which amounts to the same, searching for ones own constitution.

Focus_Night Image2

Black Rock Reef

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Black Rock Reef

Providing shelter, nutrients, a place to hunt, coral reefs exist in less than 0.1% of our oceans, yet they play host to a quarter of marine species. A wondrous setting for letting the imagination wander, as well as a poignant reminder of the frailty of our beautiful planet, Black Rock Reef invites you to suspend your disbelief, and find your spot in the anemone.

Anemones, more than most components of the reef, share a collaborative relationship with their inhabitants. Their tentacles stun and collect tiny organisms for fish to feed on, and in turn, the fish defend the anemone and waft aerated water past its tentacles with their fins. Once a clown fish has found its anemone, it will never stray farther than four inches from its comforting fingers until it dies.

I hope that the soaring, flexible limbs of Black Rock Reef will prove equally irresistible to the inhabitants of the Playa. The vibrant beacon of color on the horizon serves to draw visitors in from afar, and the intricate arrangement of organic spaces dare further exploration on arrival.

The graceful order of the woven elements provide an incredibly tough surface that is inherently climbable, yet filigree and visually lightweight. Silhouettes of daring explorers who have ascended towards the canopy are visible from afar, inviting others to participate. The curved forms create multiple inhabitable spaces through their relation to one another, the Black Rock Reef has as many inspiring destinations in its topography as your imagination will allow.

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Interactivity
Interactivity is integral to the Black Rock Reef. Choosing and then developing a gridshell system has been an exercise in creating a structure that invites and supports climbing and exploring safely.The permeability of the structure makes climbers’ silhouettes clearly visible from afar, a clear visual tutorial for passers by as to the exploratory opportunity offered by the Black Rock Reef.
On closer inspection, the collection of bulging towers lend infinite surfaces to be explored, and each tower’s opening at its base allows the gentle bulges to be experienced from the other side of the skin. A unique interaction of spaces occurs, and people relaxing on a gentle slope may find themselves to be witness to a dramatic ascent of an overhang, through the apertures in their seat!
The interior of the cores also serve as ladders to the canopy of the reef, which is an enclosed bowl with spectacular views across the playa, with space for several simultaneous inhabitants. The gently sloping of the canopy perimeter serves to gently enclose even the wobbliest burner, without intrusively caging, or breaking the connection with the external environment.
An optional in-situ burn of the Black Rock reef would prove spectacular, with the woven structure allowing for an air fuelled ferocious burn. Burn safe methods of colouring the laths would be sought, if a burn was planned.
1:5 model
1:5 Scale model of structural system
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Lath fabrication and pre-fab element assembly and transportation
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On-site pre-fab element assembly procedure

Black Rock Reef

Evening at the reef
At night the towers are lit from beneath, creating a colourful beacon visible from afar. The intricate gridshell surfaces cast spectacularly kaleidoscopic geometric shadows.
As anyone who has been lucky enough to scuba dive at night with a torch will understand, the colour and form of the Black Rock Reef will really come to life at night, with dizzyingly complex shadow patterns cast against an uplifting splash of colour.

The Cloud

The Cloud at Burning Man
The Cloud at Burning Man

So easily can fun and playfulness be neglected within Architecture. My proposal stands as an embodiment of these aspects, creating an area of inclusive participation, a space that can be explored and is only complete when occupied.

Fallen from the sky and tied down in the middle of Black Rock City ‘The Cloud’ stands as a mirage for weary-eyed travellers from far and wide, a beacon of sanctuary that creates spaces that provide respite from the harsh conditions of the desert using permeable fabric to create a cool atmosphere diffusing light within daylight and emitting a soft glow from within in the evening.

Principle Stress Analysis
Principle Stress Analysis

Walking through the dessert after a long journey along the silk road ‘The Cloud’ emerges as a whimsical mirage. Mimicking the form of a cloud the easily recognisable form is transformed into Architecture; a sinuous billowing form allowing us to fulfil a childhood dream, walking on clouds.

The principle structure of the cloud is composed of hollow rolled steel tubes ,sandwiched between thick perforated fabric, strategically placed to withstand the extreme wind conditions as well as human interaction. Elevated from the floor these tubes are secured to the ground using the kandy kane re-bar method.
Keeping the form soft and playful so that not only is the installation safe but also malleable, responding to people climbing and walking it, bungee rope is securely looped over the steel tubes and threaded through the ‘ground’ fabric to hold it up, as illustrated in the accompanying drawing.

Structural Breakdown
Structural Breakdown
The Cloud Perspective
The Cloud Perspective
Orthographic Cut
Orthographic Cut

Interactivity is an integral part of the installation. Bringing to life the stranded cloud people are encouraged to explore the piece climbing in, over and around it, finding intricate crevasses that provide discreet hidden entrances to the inner cloud where an intimate social environment softly illuminated by the diffused daylight, providing an area of solace.

Physical Model 1:5
Physical Model 1:5
Evening View of The Cloud
Evening View of The Cloud

DIMENSIONS // 5000mm(l) x 3100mm(w) x 4100mm(h)

Lotus Hypars

Lotus Hypars – A study of hyperbolic bamboo structures

The Lotus Hypars symbolise the “Caravansary” trading centre. The structure is assembled as the centre for exchange after journeying across land and water to a resting point, Burning Man. Hammocks offer a space for the festivals unique style of trading to be discussed and carried out. The tangible nature of the Lotus also creates a playfulness in an otherwise formal system of resources exchange. The lightweight structure evolves from the horizontal lines of the desert and forms a hyperbolic shelter. The user can inhabit not only underneath the structure, but also the petal shaped hammocks. Here, individuals can exchange stories, supplies and treasures.

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In Buddhism, the Lotus flower is symbolic of fortune. It grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower’s first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment. The Lotus Hypar story has evolved from the same principles. In the harsh desert environment, man can create beauty. The folded geometries are playfully excited by human participation. A twist, a fold and a push.

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The structure is assembled using bamboo sticks that are arranged in a reciprocal formation. These canes are then bound using high strength elastic bands. This allows for the flat cells to twist and take on new shapes. The Lotus Hypar is formed by a repetitive series of folds and the result forms petals. These are symbolic of the Lotus flower. The cells are covered with a white semi-elastic membrane that adds to the strength of the structure and the petal geometries become more visible. These are also the hammocks that can be inhabited by the Burning Man users.

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In order to test the structural performance of the proposal, I constructed a series of 1:1 scale models. This was done using 6m and 3m bamboo canes (35mm diameter). By testing a small segment of the full proposal, it is easier to determine the success of the final proposal.

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Exhibiting DS10 proposals for Burning Man 2014 at the Official London Burning Man Decompression Party

DS10 students exhibited their proposals for next years Burning Man at the official London Burning Man decompression party recently, in Electrowerks, Islington.

It was great to see so many burners outside of the desert, and to have such positive feedback from the community on the studio’s proposals for next year. Great time had by all!

IMG_9125Garis Iu, Charlotte Yates, Andrei Jipa, Joe Leach, Paul Thorpe setting up our exhibitition space.IMG_9138

Wonderful wooden models by John Konings and Joe Leach and artwork by the studioIMG_9130Garis Iu’s interactive art piece ‘field of vibrations’

IMG_9172Garis sporting a leopard print jacket explaining his design to dazzled and intrigued burners.

IMG_9149The DS10 decompression team, Arthur, Toby, Garis, Charlotte, Joe, Paul and the wonderful Jo Cook who was an integral part of the 2013 build team.

Finger’s crossed we get the chance to build again in 2014 😉 Watch this space!!!