Newsletter 12.2008

Dear Readers

Today we are introducing our new Architonic Concept Space II, which we are presenting for the first time at the imm cologne 2009. In 2009 it is being designed by the Swiss architects Gramazio & Kohler and constructed using robot technology at the ETH Zurich.

As every year we have once more compiled our Architonic Guide imm cologne for you.

At the YDMI (Young Designers Meet Industry) forum organised in Berlin by the Design Council (Rat für Formgebung), Architonic was very much involved as a media partner and member of the jury. An inspiring event...

Pump up the volume: in our interview Oskar Zieta, architect and latest winner of the YDMI award, talks about the production of his inflatable sheet steel furniture and feather-light supporting structures, and why he won't be building any bridges in the near future.

Be inspired!

Your Architonic Team

Zurich | Milan | Berlin | Barcelona | Copenhagen | London | Miami
Architonic Concept Space II
Designed by Gramazio & Kohler, on view for the first time at the imm cologne 2009
    Architonic Concept Space II

The concept is innovation: at last year's imm cologne Architonic participated with a stand which demonstrated the potential which lies in the combination of innovative materials and progressive design solutions provided by future-oriented production processes. The Architonic Lounge, created by LAVA (Laboratory for Visionary Architecture), was very much a suitable start to Architonic's Concept Spaces.

In the coming year the Swiss architects Gramazio & Kohler - who designed this-year's Swiss pavilion at the Architecture Biennale in Venice and are known for their computer-generated and robot-produced structures - will be continuing the series.

The design methods and production process here run counter to each other: at the same time subtractive and additive.
The forms are digitally »eroded« from simple cubes using subtractive logic, with the necessary parameters such as statics and functional spaces being integrated in the calculations. A conventional industrial robot then additively assembles and glues variously sized full-scale segments - sponsored by Swisspor - to form the shell of the structure.

The result is a fascinating three-dimensional 'pixel landscape,' which in visual terms makes no secret of its digital origins.
We are very excited about this successful cooperation with Gramazio & Kohler and the department of architecture and digital production at the ETH Zurich. At the same time we take pleasure in inviting you to our Architonic Concept Space II in the passage between Halls 10 and 11 at the imm cologne from 19 - 25 January 2009.
Architonic Guide imm cologne 09
Let us guide you
The imm cologne is still one of the world's most important furniture fairs. In our practical Architonic Guide you will find the most interesting exhibitors selected for you and displayed with a layout plan and stand number. The Architonic Guide is available at the stands of all the listed manufacturers, or as a download here.

  Architonic Guide imm cologne 09
Blow up sheet metal
An interview with Oskar Zieta, architect at the CAAD-professorship at ETH Zurich

Inflated sheet steel units - at first sight it looks like a fanciful novelty but in fact this is advanced technology which has been developed at the CAAD (Computer Aided Architectural Design) department of the ETH in Zurich and has already been successfully implemented. The architect Oskar Zieta, who has been working with this professorship for eight years, has now designed a series of inflated sheet steel furniture which not only proves that the technology is ready for series production but also demonstrates the striking look of these almost sculptural objects. Zieta produces the Plopp stool in his home country Poland and markets it through the Danish manufacturer HAY. We met him in Berlin, where he was awarded the YDMI (Young Designers Meet Industry) Prize.

  Blow up sheet metal  
Oskar Zieta

You teach in the CAAD department under Prof. Hovestadt. What exactly does your research involve?
In general our research concerns digital processes which are developed on the computer. It's our aim to 'print out' the results of our digital studies on computer-controlled machinery, i.e. laser cutting, CNC milling etc. My task was clear eight years ago, when I started work at this institute. My job was to apply computer-controlled machines in the field of lightweight construction and design, and to find out what processes are the most flexible. The more flexible the production chain is, the more extensive production can be. It's a matter of production processes which enable us to achieve a result as simply as possible and with the minimum number of production stages and resources.

You then finally developed your own production technology.
Yes, it's called FIDU. We can control the three-dimensional form by the two-dimensional shape of the sheet steel. The products that use this cut and welded steel can then be inflated anywhere, which makes this technology very flexible. All you need is the template and a welding robot. Before they are inflated 100 of my stools will fit on a pallet, although if they were all blown up they would fill up a container.

Plopp by Oskar Zieta

Highly flexible but at the same time lacking in precision?
In the two-dimensional area we can be very precise. It's only when we become three-dimensional that we lose precision. But we're working on perfecting the process and are already in a position to make extensive calculations. We have also discovered the existence of certain rules, which have already been patented.

What sort of rules, for example?
Interrelationships between geometry, material, material thickness, welding and deformation technology (in other words 'inflation'). The objects can be inflated with water, oil or air, and in theory each fold can be precisely analysed and controlled.

Which did not happen in the case of the fairly rough stool, did it?
Seen from the outside perhaps not, but the stool is more complex than it looks. It has always been our idea to move from 2D to 3D and not to 2 1/2D. In other words the legs of the stool were not bent downwards in a separate operational stage - instead they were intended to bend into the right position during the inflation process. We succeeded in this after long calculations and very precise cutting. Plopp gets pretty close to magic.

FIDU-Bridge, 2007, preparartion for the static load test, external dimensions: 6m x 1,5m, weight: 174 kg, load: 1850kg

In spite of all this precision you still allow a certain amount of variance in shape. It isn't the case that all the stools are folded in exactly the same way, is it?
No, not at all. And this is deliberate. Sheet steel is an omnipresent material. We associate it with cars and trains - all these objects are formed from sheet steel shaped with extreme precision and moulded with a force of 100 tonnes. Young designers and architects can't afford such machine tools, which is what motivated us to develop the FIDU technology. We completely transformed the way material is processed. In architecture there is a great need for the facility of designing free forms - take blob architecture, for example. The engineers who have the job of constructing these organic forms designed by architects are always looking for the technology which will make this possible and which will give a completely new meaning to the term 'standard'.
2nd. YDMI Days in Berlin
27 - 29 November 2008 - Young Designers Meet The Industry
    2nd. YDMI Days in Berlin  
The YDMI Dinner

The three-day event - initiated by the Design Council (Rat für Formgebung) - kicked off with an extensive aperitif among prototypes and designs on the gallery of the 'Villa Elisabeth' in Berlin, which then provided a wonderful background for an excellent dinner, stimulating conversations and interesting presentations by the 'Young Professionals'.

Representatives from the most diverse branches of industry and from the world of design met for the purposes of networking and to choose a Young Professional as the winner of the 8000 € prize. It was a major logistical achievement to place this wide spectrum of designers from the worlds of furniture, industrial and graphic design and the corresponding representatives from industry all at the same table in a sensible seating arrangement.
Stockholm Furniture Fair and Northern Light Fair Fully Booked
From 4 - 8 February 2009 around 750 exhibitors will be presenting their products on an exhibition area of over 56,500 m². In spite of the financial crisis the fair has been booked out for a long time now, and there is a long waiting list - no wonder, because for a number of years now Stockholm has established itself as the most important furniture fair for Northern Europe, putting Copenhagen under serious pressure in the process. By clearly dividing the halls into segments, excellent curator work with Greenhouse as a platform for young designers, and the annual special show, which this year is devoted to the Dutch designer Ineke Hans, Stockholm has positioned itself decisively and successfully.

"We're now looking at what we can do in terms of content to further increase knowledge among our main target groups of visitors. These are architects and interior designers, as well as furniture and lighting retailers. For example, we'll be arranging more talks and seminars than before, and will have an exhibition on store concepts," said Charlotte Wiking, project manager for business development and international relations at Stockholm Furniture Fair / Northern Light Fair.

For the first time the Stockholm Furniture Fair / Northern Light Fair is organising an exhibition aimed specifically at retailers. In Hall B interior designer Lotta Agaton is putting together a combined exhibition of lighting and furniture for the purpose of providing the retailers with inspiration and know-how, backed up by practical advice on designing their store concepts.

For the first time Architonic, too, will be in Stockholm with its new Concept Space II. In our next Newsletter we'll be reporting in detail about the design event in Stockholm from 4 - 8 February 2009.
All those who register by 25.01.2009 will also have the opportunity to win one of 300 free tickets to Stockholm. We look forward to welcoming you at our stand!
Product & Material Innovations 2008
Part 2
    Product & Material Innovations 2008
More Articles from «News &Trends»
Cretan Project
  More Articles from «News &Trends»

'So we are given this wonderful job in Crete, to renovate a house, and - should the Client overlook our complete lack of previous experience in renovation, also design the furniture for it.'
Cabinetmakers' Autumn

Cabinetmakers' Autumn, an exhibition involving 68 furniture manufacturers and designers who jointly implement innovative and craftsmanlike designs, has been taking place in Copenhagen since 1981.

Industrially prefabricated and modular dwellings have long since established themselves, in the USA, in particular. With increasing awareness of the need to conserve energy, these 'pre-fab' houses are attracting increasing attention because of their flexibility and economical use of resources in terms of design and materials.
How many ideas fit in a seat bucket?
Bene SEAT ART 2008

For the fifth time Bene recently invited ten selected firms of architects and ten design studios to a creative dialogue. This year the pre-Christmas competition took place for the first time under the name SEAT ART.
LED - staging light and colour
an exhibition at the Gewerbemuseum Winterthur

The staging of light and colour is the theme of an exhibition held from 8 November 2008 to 3 May 2009 featuring the work of the LED-ColourLab research team.
New & renewed memberships on Architonic
Coming soon on Architonic
    Coming soon on Architonic