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.
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.Opportunity
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.
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.
INSTALLATION SUBMISSION TO BURNING MAN 2016 – ‘Entwine’
Entwine is a timber frame structure which has been developed through rigorous physical and digital testing to ensure a safe climbing frame for all to enjoy. When exploring Entwine, the vast expanse of the playa is framed through beautiful intertwining curved plywood beams. Burners can view the event from glorious vantage points nestled amidst multiple communal spaces that encourage interaction and play.
The structure predominantly consists of strips of curved plywood which have been connected together using pioneering construction techniques, specifically the utilisation of conflicting forces, similar to those apparent in ‘Tensegrital’ design. Drawing inspiration from Leonardo Da Vinci and his various experimentations with physical form, ‘Entwine’ is a marvel of geometry. The piece is formed from an arrangement of 19 octahedral components, each consisting of six beams, which are paired and positioned upon one of three axis. These three elements represent the unity of man, nature and the universe that surrounds us.
Each modular component is tessellated to form an octahedral space frame structure. The rigidity resulting from this tessellation is in direct contrast to the curving structural beams which exude an organic aesthetic. As Burners view Entwine from different aspects, a remarkable array of different patterns and forms are revealed, many bearing resemblance to sacred geometry, specifically the Flower of Life, which was a significant study within Leonardo Da Vinci’s work.
Entwine is unorthodox in its composition, and this is a contributing factor to what makes it so unique: Each module is constructed through tensioning layers of ¼ inch thick plywood, which are then mechanically fixed together when a desired radius has been reached. By laminating the plywood in this manner, each component retains its curvature but remains in compression. These conflicting forces are integral to the design of Entwine: Each octahedral module is constructed from these compressed plywood elements, and are held together with tensioning ropes creating a structure of isolated components in compression within a net of continuous tension.The form of the structure is based on the octahedron, which is a Platonic solid composed of eight equilateral triangles; four of which meet at each vertex. One of the eight triangles acts as a base for the structure. This results in one edge creating a small cantilever, whilst the counter edge can be anchored to the ground. As previously studied by Buckminster Fuller, the geometry of an octahedron is particularly good at forming space frames with a strong cantilevers.
The participatory aspect of the installation voids the role of the ‘spectator’ and creates more active engagement. In many of Leonardo Da Vinci’s paintings, his subjects are framed by surreal, dreamlike landscapes. This is reflected within Entwine: As Burners become part of the installation, they are framed by the awe inspiring backdrop of Black Rock Desert: In many ways Entwine becomes the artist, the playa the canvas, and Burners the subjects.
“the artist is not a special sort of person, but every person is a special sort of artist.”
This is not only true in the sense of physical involvement but during the construction the ‘spectator’ becomes involved in making strategic decisions in the realisation of the work of art. The development, design and construction of the project embodies the principles of self-reliance and self-expression, whilst a proposal that is safe, interactive and beautiful will be gifted to the community at Burning Man.
Entwine’s curving form will be illuminated using LED spot lights to enhance the organic patterning existent within the structure. This allows the full form of the structure to be fully visible.
Lying somewhere between science and art, University of Tokyo scientists Yoichi Ochiai, Takayuki Hoshi and Jun Rekimoto use precision acoustics to bring the beauty of sound waves to life in three dimensions.
We’re back from the desert! Very proud to have completed two beautiful projects at the Burning Man festival 2013 with our DS10 students and guests from the Architectural Association, Columbia University and UCL.
Credits to the team:
Team: Toby Burgess and Arthur Mamou-Mani a.k.a. Ratchet and Baby Cup (Project Directors), Thanasis Korras (Designer of Fractal Cult), Georgia Rose Collard-Watson (Designer of Shipwreck), Jessica Beagleman (Food & Meals), Natasha Coutts (Camp and Rentals), Sarah Shuttlesworth, Andy Rixson, Luka Kreze, Tim Strnad, Philippos Philippidis, Nataly Matathias, Marina Karamali, Harikleia Karamali, Antony Joury, Emma Whitehead, , Jo Cook, Caitlin Hudson, Dan Dodds and Chris Ingram.
Special Thanks: BettieJune, Ben Stoelting, Kevin Meers, Caroline Holmes, Chloe Brubaker, Papa Bear,
Photos by Jo Cook, Arthur Mamou-Mani, Toby Burgess, Luka Kreze, Thanasis Korras, Antony Joury.
Here are couple more pictures of the finished projects:
Some images of the construction of Shipwreck, from the collection of the pieces all the way to the assembly
Images of the construction process of Fractal Cult until the burn:
Finally, how we made our camp look more like a home and less like a refugee camp:
A beautiful view of the festival itself at sunrise:
Here is a text that we wrote about the experience:
Diploma Studio 10:
Diploma Studio 10 at the University of Westminster is led by Toby Burgess and Arthur Mamou-Mani. They both believe that involvement is key to the process of learning and therefore always try to get their students to “get out and build” their designs in the real world. The studio starts the year with the study of systems, natural, mathematical and architectural systems of all sort, paired with intense software training in order to build up skills and a set of rules to design a small scale project which they will be able to build during a real event in the summer. Throughout the year, they build large scale prototypes and draw very accurate technical drawings, they also need to provide a budget and explain how it makes sense within the wider context of the festival, some of them will event start crowd-funding campaign to self-finance the projects. Our ultimate goal is to give them an awareness of entrepreneurship in Architecture and how to initiate projects as this is for us the best way to fight unemployment in our profession. Burning Man and the 10 Principles:
The Burning Man festival takes place every summer in Black Rock desert, Nevada. It is a “participant-led” festival in which the activities are initiated by the people attending it. There are around 60,000 “burners” every year building a giant temporary city in which they create a social experiment which follows the 10 principles of Burning Man. They conclude the festival by burning a large sculpture of a Man.
What interested Toby and Arthur are the 10 principle which guide the “burners”: Radical Self-Reliance, Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Leaving No trace, to name a few. Designing with these rules in mind help students understand basic issues of sustainability. Designing for Burning Man also helps the students to design with “playfulness” in mind, as all the structures have to be climbable and interactive. We are not the only one inspired by these rules, Sergei Brin, co-founder of Google, asks all his staff to follow the principles when they come up with new ideas. The Story:
On our first year at Westminster we found out that our student could submit their Burning Man proposals and receive a grant from the organizers. After receiving 20 submissions from the same school, the organizers were very intrigued and decided to contact us. The director of the Art Grant told us that she loved the project but that all of them were just not possible in the context. She decided to visit us in London to explain what we could do to submit better projects the following year which we did. On the second run, the festival chose two projects, Shipwreck by Georgia Rose Collard-Watson and Fractal Cult by Thanasis Korras.
These two projects are representative of the way we run our studio: Thanasis looked at Fractal on Brief01 and Georgia looked at ways to bend and assemble strips of wood together. They both explored these systems before submitting a project with a very strong narrative which fitted perfectly the burning man philosophy. Thanasis linked his Fractal to the symbol of “Merkaba” whereas Georgia told the story of a shipwreck which offered shelter from the dust storms.
Once the project got chosen, we partnered with an engineer, Ramboll and started researching for suppliers and fabrication facilities in the USA. We took the 3D files from concept all the way parametric models for fabrication. We started a Gantt chart with every step to take from rental of 24ft truck, collection of item all the way to demolition.
One of the main aspect that required a lot of planning was the camp. We had to plan every meal and food that would not perish under the extreme condition. We also found a way to rent a whole camp equipment from past burners. On site:
The team grew little by little, many of our student could not afford the trip or could not take such a long time off so we asked around if anyone else would like to join us and thanks to our blog posts and active social networking online, students from the Architectural Association, Columbia or UCL started showing interest and joined the team.
Our first surprise on site was the power of the dust storm. One of our Yurt flew away and some of us got stuck in different places of the site seeking shelter. We were terrorised. Sleeping in tents was also extremely hard as you would be awaken by temperatures approaching 40degrees celcius, at the end of the construction, a lot of us would sleep in the foam hexayurts in which we were storing equipment at first. We learned so much.
Near Unison, my project exploring harmonographic traces is currently being shown at Kinetica Art Fair. The exhibition is in Ambika P3, the exhibition space attached to the University of Westminster on Marylebone Road. For more information on the exhibition, and details about tickets and opening times please visit the Kinetica Art Fair website.
The exhibit features a prototype of the interactive harmonograph swings that could form part of the larger installation proposed for Burning Man Festival, along with casts of the harmonographic traces left in sand, and photographic work documenting the process.
“The 5th Kinetica Art Fair returns February 28th – March 3rd 2013 at Ambika P3, as one of London’s annual landmark art exhibitions and a permanent ﬁxture in the Art Fair calendar, renowned as the UK’s only art fair dedicated to kinetic, robotic, sound, light, time-based and new media art.
Kinetica is hosting the work of over 45 galleries and art organisations nationally and internationally, with representatives from UK, France, Russia, USA, Poland, Holland, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Indonesia and Japan, collectively showing over 400 works of art.
A huge interactive light sculpture from Dutch artist Titia Ex will greet visitors as they enter the impressive Ambika P3 venue, and giant 3D sculptures from Holotronica will hover above the main space of the Fair. Other highlights include an exoskeleton hybrid of mananimal-machine by Christiann Zwanniken; a giant three dimensional zoetrope by Greg Barsamian; and a life-size ‘Galloping Horse’ made of light by Remi Brun”
NEAR UNISON is an installation that allows participants to visualize the harmonic relationships between them. Pairs of sit-on pendulum swings create several large scale harmonographs that scratch drawings onto the surface of the Black Rock Playa. The structure that holds these harmonographs is itself a physical representation of a harmonographic form that can be seen from a distance across the Black Rock Playa.
The harmonograph was a 19th century machine that was invented to explore the geometry of sine waves. It was soon developed into a popular parlour room toy that was capable of producing beautiful and delicate drawings simply by mapping the relationship between two swinging pendulums. By changing the lengths of the pendulums, their wavelength and oscillating frequency are changed. When the ratio of these two frequencies is something complex like 35:73, there is no discernible pattern, but as soon as it hits a simple ratio such as 3:5 or 2:3 a clear pattern emerges. The relationship between visual harmony and mathematical ratio is exactly the same those found in musical harmonies: the ratios that produce beautiful drawings are the same as produce harmonious musical chords.
The title ‘NEAR UNISON’ is derived from the set of patterns that occur when the ratio of the two pendulums is very close to 1:1, as will occur when people of a similar weight are using the interactive harmonograph. It is expected that the patterns produced by these interactive harmonographs will describe, in an abstracted manner, the similarity of all human beings, while emphasizing the subtle differences between individuals.
The overall form of the structure is also derived from a 3D harmonographic surface with a ratio that is in this ‘near unison’ region. A plywood structure supports pipes that trace the harmonographic lines through space to create a delicately curved sculptural form that sits directly on the Playa. Suspended from this structure are a series of connected pendulums that participants are able to ride like swings. When they are are used, these pendulums trace harmonographic patterns onto the surface of Playa. The drawings that are created will map the interaction between pairs of participants.
For my burning man proposal I have developed a method to array components, based on the three sided spicule which react to light to form an interactive light based structure
These components have been developed, enlarged and arrayed to form an undulating structure with a complex array of pipework to hold the ldr sensors and connections. I am currently diagramming their hierarchy connections and array formation.
TETRA is an installation that exploits the potential of mass participation to create a form that emerges from the interactions of hundreds of people with the construction system over a number of days.
Inspired by the work of R. Buckminster Fuller into space-packing polyhedra, it explores the unique three dimensional geometrical properties of the regular tetrahedron and related ‘tetrahelices’ [also known Boerdijk–Coxeter Helices]. Their geometries provide an invisible framework for the participants to work within. The modular tetrahedral construction system will be used by the participants to create forms that automatically diverge from one another.
These in turn provide spaces separated from other participants for individuals to pause and reflect on the location and nature of their surroundings. TETRA’s position out on the edge of Black Rock City means that once the structure starts to take shape, participants will be able to climb to positions that afford views across the city. Just as Burning Man asks participants to take a step back from the consumer capitalism, so TETRA allows participants to step back and view Black Rock City as a whole
TETRA is a modular kit of parts that are assembled by participants into a structure that changes form over the course of the festival. There are 160 modules, each one a tetrahedron made from four equilateral triangle shaped pieces of CNC cut exterior plywood. Each triangular face has a hole cut from its centre which, as well as decreasing the overall weight of the module, allows the modules to become rungs in a structure that can be climbed up, on, in and through.
The ply edges of the four plywood triangles are bound together with rope to ensure a joint that can transmit loads in tension from one sheet of ply to the adjacent two. There are pre-drilled re-enforced holes near each vertex to allow for adjacent modules to be bolted together with bolts and wing-nuts by participants.
Each module is designed for one person to carry while climbing sections of the structure already built. The participants are able to climb any of the structure that is already built, and bolt their new module onto the existing structure. Once built, participants are able to climb up, select a module to remove and move to another place. This means that the overall form is not set by the designer, but emerges from the collective desires of a large group of participants.
Because of the intrinsic geometry of tetrahedra and tetrahelices, the form will always contain diverging branches with inhabitable spaces within them.
How much does your building weigh?, asked Buckminster Fuller. Now again the curator of the Biennale Terence Riley asks the same question to all six international teams invited to the project “Ultra Lightweight Village” for the 2011 Shenzhen & Hong Kong biennale of urbanism\architecture.
Clavel Arcquitectos’ installation is composed by three circles of waterproof light fabric of 7.8, 6.4 and 5.4 meter of diameter spin around their axis at only 1.5 turns per second. In the biggest one we can reach to cantilever of nearly 4 meters with an only 2 mm roof thickness. It is interesting to check how similar is the movement with the animal aquatic one. Thanks to the rotation the gravity apparently disappears and only aerodynamical forces shape the fabric. The soft waves produced on the surface create a smooth breeze that improves the thermical conditions behind during the hot and sunny days.
The pavilion creates a specific place for children that can experiment with the centrifugal forces, generate electricity to open the structures and activate the lighting. The faster the children chairs rotate the brighter the structure will be.
Below is an interview of Marco Cochrane, the sculptor who designed Bliss Dance, the 40 feet (12meters) high dancing woman at the Burning Man Festival 2011. People used his I-phone app to control the lighting inside the art piece.
Above: The Bliss Dance Sculpture at Burning Man with Light controlled by I-Phone App.