Size + Matter, it could be said, was one of the most viewed events of the London Design Festival last month. Two installations by two of the U.K.'s leading architects—both women—were placed outside the cultural hub that is the Southbank Centre that thousands of people walk by everyday. Urban Nebula by Zaha Hadid used pre-cast concrete to create a darkly dramatic public seating sculpture. (Pictured right.) Prototile by Amanda Levete of Future Systems used Corian® to create a modular screen structure as a spacial intervention. (Pictured below.) I checked in with Amanda about how and why she got involved in this project.
Can you tell us what the origins of this commission were?
The project Size + Matter was commissioned by Ben Evans who is the director of the London Design Festival. It was about the idea of taking a material and exploring it in ways that haven't been done before, so that you push its boundaries both technically and aesthetically.
For me that was really interesting because there was no brief in terms of its function, it was really a very abstract way of looking at something. So I thought I could explore the ideas that I am looking at in buildings at a scale that's really large; that is somewhere in between a building and a piece of furniture.
Were you able to choose your material? Did you choose Corian®?
Yes, I love using it, but we've always used it in interiors and facing materials, it's never been used structurally before and I wanted to demonstrate that you could use it as a self supporting structure.
And the concept behind your installation?
There was this idea of the repetition of the motif and creating a screen, but one without a boundary. It is perforated and is about the relationship of solid to void. It is quite a complex double-layered system and double curvature. So the idea is that you can reassemble it in any form. There are obviously limits to the height because of the structural properties, but it does show that with a single motif you can create very complex forms.
What interests you most about the form you've used?