The design, philosophy, and materials of the work created at Philip Beesley Studio Inc. and the Living Architecture Systems Group, are completely intertwined. This level of careful planning is essential for the designers to master the art of creating experimental 'living architecture' installations. Their focus on every detail has led them to create both wonderfully clever and awe-inspiring designs seen by millions of people around the world.
Looking at some of their designs, it’s easy to get caught up in the intricacies of each piece, which is why, we at ACRYLITE®, wanted to learn more about how our material found its place in installations like these.
Sascha Hastings, curator of the Venice Installation to be featured next year, shares some insider knowledge of how ACRYLITE® is used in these designs. “Our design concept is directly related to the properties of the material. We knew we wanted to create scaffolds that use a minimal amount of material, that is lightweight, and derived from sheets of material. We had actually used thin sheets of metal before, and occasionally still do in parts, but on the whole, we found that metal isn’t flexible enough for what we wanted and is also quite heavy. When we saw and started working with ACRYLITE®, we realized we could do so much more than we had done before!”, Sascha explains.
For most of their installations, they have used ACRYLITE® Resist impact modified sheet. The properties of this material are hard to match, especially with the way it transmits light, creating an ethereal quality which is a common feature throughout their designs.
She goes on to say, “When people see the work, they often think it’s 3D-printed because it’s such an organic form, but we’ve really pushed the boundaries of what ACRYLITE® can do, and people realize that it has so much more potential than remaining as a sheet material.” They create these ACRYLITE® scaffolds or frames for other components of their sculpture, such as the electronics, live chemistry, light, and sound, by taking the acrylic through a fabrication process.
This process includes, laser cutting intricate patterns into the material, then using heat (i.e. through a process of thermoforming) to expand, stretch, and twist the individual laser cut pieces into individual scaffold components. Finally, the individual components are assembled using more tessellations and form works they designed and cut from other sheets of ACRYLITE®.
Although the beauty of the sheet comes from its light-transmitting qualities, the impact modified property is what keeps the team of designers coming back for more! Tiny beads of oil within the sheet, allow for it to bend and twist into the desired shapes. This property in combination with the process of "elastic deformation”, as opposed to “plastic deformation” which is a characteristic of metal and other acrylics, allow for the sheet to take on unthinkable shapes without the risk of shattering.
“This relates directly to the concept and philosophy of our work, which is that of a constantly renewing exchange between architecture and its environment, including people, and structures that continually shed their forces. It creates the impression of structures that appear very fragile, but in fact have incredible strength and resilience, which is something we think architecture needs during times of great uncertainty and massive change, such as the times we are living through.”, says Sascha.
The elastic qualities of ACRYLITE® help give the installations the impression that they are alive and empathetic which make it a valuable material for their one-of-a-kind installations!
To learn more about these designs, check out philipbeesleyarchitect.com and livingarchitecturesystems.com. You can also take a look at their ‘Meander’ installation here: LIVING ARCHITECTURE SYSTEMS GROUP - Meander Installation and Philip Beesley - Meander Installation.
The team was recently invited by Hashim Sarkis, the Artistic Director of the Venice Architecture Biennale, to present a new work at the 2021 exhibition, which is scheduled to open in May. This is known as the most important and prestigious architecture exhibition in the world, often called the “Olympics” of Architecture. It is sure to be one you will not want to miss, so don’t forget to follow them on Instagram at LASG_research to keep up with this exciting adventure to come!