Laboratory For Explorative Architecture & Design Ltd. (lead)-Golden Moon Public Event Space
At Design Interviews
(Excerpt) Interview with Laboratory for Explorative Architecture & Design Ltd. (LEAD) : Frank Scott: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?. Laboratory for Explorative Architecture & Design Ltd. (LEAD) : The Golden Moon revisits the concept of a Chinese lantern and makes a direct link to the legend of Chang’e, the Moon Goddess of Immortality – two elements strongly associated with the Mid-Autumn Festival. According to the romantic story Chang’e lives on the moon, away from her husband Houyi who lives on earth. The couple can only meet on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival when the moon is at its fullest and most beautiful. To symbolise the passionate love burning between the reunited couple that day, the 6-storey-high, spherical moon lantern is clad with abstracted flames in fiery colours and patterns.
Traditional materials for making lanterns, such as translucent fabric, metal wire and bamboo, have been translated to a large scale. A light-weight steel geodesic dome forms the pavilion’s primary structure and is the basis for a computer-generated grid wrapped around it. This grid is materialised through a secondary structure from bamboo. For this, Hong Kong’s traditional bamboo scaffolding techniques were used. This highly intuitive and imprecise craft was merged with exact digital design technology to accurately install and bend the bamboo sticks into a grid wrapping the steel dome. This grid was then clad with stretch fabric flames, all lit up by animated LED lights.
The bamboo and flames follow a pattern based on an algorithm for sphere panellisation that produces purity and repetition around the equator and imperfection and approximation at the poles. This gradual change creates a very dynamic space that draws spectator’s view up towards the tip. By putting the axis of this cladding grid not vertical but under an angle, the dome gets an asymmetric directionality. This motion is reinforced by the entrance which is placed along this tilted axis to draw people into the sphere and where they get swept away along the grid’s tangents and vectors. The colouration of the pavilion amplifies this effect of submergence in a light wonderland. On top of the black painted steel structure, which forms a neutral base, eight different, saturated colours of stretch fabric are used for the flames. The colours gradually range from ivory and yellow to intense orange, red and deep bordeaux. The brightest colours are used at the tilted base whereas the darkest colours are used at the pole where they, together with the more scrambled geometry, make the pattern disintegrate into the black night sky. .Frank Scott: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?. Laboratory for Explorative Architecture & Design Ltd. (LEAD) : The Golden Moon strategically combines digital design techniques, such as computer programming, with traditional crafts and basic materials. The Golden Moon was built in only 11 days and shows how complex geometry can be built at high speed and low cost with the simplest of means. This we call “Building Simplexity”. It rethinks the premise of digital design by anchoring the paradigm in a strong materiality. With over 400,000 visitors during its 6-day lifespan, the pavilion used its dynamic space, structure, colour, texture and light to trigger a sensuous response from visitors of 2012’s Mid-Autumn Festival. .Frank Scott: What are your future plans for this award winning design?. Laboratory for Explorative Architecture & Design Ltd. (LEAD) : The Golden Moon was a temporary installation and has entirely been recycled after 6 days of display. The concepts of combining contemporary design methods with alternative ways of constructing are a constant in our work and are carried forward into future projects. .Frank Scott: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?. Laboratory for Explorative Architecture & Design Ltd. (LEAD) : The Golden Moon fits in a series of projects where we experiment with materials and how e.g. computer programming can be combined with it to create a highly unique and expressive space for visitors to use. The competition proposal for the Golden Moon was designed in less than a week, but it benefited from work we have been developing over many years. .Frank Scott: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?. Laboratory for Explorative Architecture & Design Ltd. (LEAD) : The Golden Moon is the 2012 Gold Award winning entry for the Lantern Wonderland design competition which is organised each year by the Hong Kong Tourism Board for the Mid-Autumn Festival, and was on display for 6 days in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park. After winning the competition we were commissioned to be develop it further over the summer leading up to the festival. .Frank Scott: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?. Laboratory for Explorative Architecture & Design Ltd. (LEAD) : We have received interests from people all over the world to bring over the Golden Moon. A city in Denmark for example wanted to use it for a festival there, and even within Hong Kong there were ideas circulating to give the project an afterlife. But because its story and construction principle is so closely related to Hong Kong and the Mid-Autumn Festival, and because it was always designed to be a singly highlight for the 2012 festival, the project was entirely recycled. It now lives on only as a memory and as photographs on thousands of peoples’ Fa.[ End of Excerpt: Read complete interview with Laboratory for Explorative Architecture & Design Ltd. (LEAD) on Golden Moon Public Event Space at design-interviews.com ]
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