Amanda Levete and Corian at LDF

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Amanda Levete and Corian at LDF

Architect Amanda Levete of Future Systems has designed an installation using DuPont Corian for the London Design Festival this September.

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The work, part of an initiative called Materials Project that will also see Zaha Hadid and Thomas Heatherwick create structures in other materials, will be installed in front of the South Bank Centre in London from 15-25 September.

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Press release follows:

DuPont™ Corian® joins the stellar cast of the Materials Project on the Southbank during the 2007 London Design Festival

July 07 – As the London Design Festival flourishes into a major international event, it’s only fitting for an installation to be unveiled in the cultural heart of the city, amidst the landmarks of the Southbank. It’s also a natural step for a celebration of design to creatively explore the building blocks that bring architectural vision into solid reality.

The Materials Project pays homage to the reciprocal inspirational relationship between designers and materials. Often it is because architects have discovered a material that meets their initial requirements – and then demanded even more of that material – that manufacturers have been stimulated to put new techniques and technologies to work to develop their products. Designers find new ways to apply these solutions and the cycle continues. This has certainly been true during the fascinating evolution of DuPont™ Corian® - the original composite, high-performance, solid surface material invented by DuPont – which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

Ben Evans, Director of the London Design Festival explains the concept of the Materials Project: “The key idea of this project has been to ask designers to choose a material and push it to its limits. It aims to blur the boundaries between architecture, design, engineering and sculpture. Also by exploring the scale between furniture and architecture we get a refreshing perspective on a form normally occupied by public art and artists. Design is having a real moment and this project shows it is capable of new horizons.”

As one of three materials being explored by three luminaries of design, DuPont™ Corian® has been chosen by Amanda Levete (Future Systems) for an installation that is dramatic both in imagination and scale. The concept probes the capabilities of Corian® in various exciting ways, exploiting its versatile and sensual properties – but also representing a considerable feat of fabrication and engineering. Although sculptural in aesthetic terms, the piece is intended not as an art work purely for display. It takes the form a curving “wall” of approximately 220 interlocking, thermoformed “leaves” of Corian®.

Having worked with DuPont™ Corian® on several commercial projects, Amanda Levete was keen to experiment: “We have been inspired by the Materials project to push Corian® beyond established parameters and expectations. It is unique as a material which can be worked with woodworking tools but also heated and thermoformed to create organic flowing and folded shapes. As a product, it is most commonly associated with interior applications such as sinks and worktops, however the Materials Project has inspired us to explore its undeveloped structural potential.

“We are keen to stress that our installation is not an art piece, but a laboratory project for exploring architectural ideas. It could function as a shade or arbour in its future life. In order to achieve this within the constraints of the maximum size for thermoforming, we have approached the installation through a number of smaller, self-similar, flowing elements that interlock to create a gently curving wall which rises and falls in response to the loads upon it. Our installation also exploits the translucent properties of the material by playing with the relationship between solid and void, introducing subtly changing light effects on the surface which are inspired by the dappled light through a leafy canopy.”

“Working closely with the project teams for Arup and DuPont™ Corian®, we have been able to create a form that pushes the material to its structural limits while exemplifying the established properties of Corian® for aesthetic purity, flowing geometry and translucent effects.

“For us, the Materials project is an opportunity to explore ideas at a moderate scale that might later inform elements of a much larger building project.” Amanda Levete

The project by Amanda Levete – Future Systems for DuPont™ Corian® will be installed directly outside the newly refurbished iconic Royal Festival Hall. Jude Kelly, Artistic Director at Southbank Centre says “I am delighted that Southbank Centre will be the home for the London Design Festival this year. The partnership means more people than ever coming into contact with design. The hub will be the key destination for visitors – to pick up information, listen to and engage with designers, see major exhibitions and installations, learn, create, debate and do business.”

In a further expression of the blurring of boundaries between architecture and art, the three pieces will be auctioned during their contemporary show in October by Phillips de Pury & Co.

Paul McDowell, Director of MCD, the sales and marketing organisation of DuPont™ Corian® in the UK, expresses his enthusiasm for the project, “We are delighted to be invited, as one of only three materials, to participate in this project. On one hand, the public nature of the installation and the enhanced perception of Corian® that it offers has the potential to take awareness of the material as a versatile and high-performance solid surface further into the realms of culture and even art. And on the other hand, we welcomed the opportunity to work creatively with Amanda, whose visionary grasp of what the material can do is so inspiring and satisfying – if challenging! With the engineering know-how of Arup, together with the skill and imagination of our fabricators, we are on yet another exciting journey in the evolution of DuPont™ Corian®.”

Ben Evans adds, “This whole project wouldn’t be possible without the vision of DuPont™ Corian® and the other materials companies. Their commitment has been impressive. New relationships have emerged resulting in three very exciting new pieces of design that will make a tremendous impact. I hope other manufacturers follow their example.”

Materials Project: Facts at a glance:

Date: London Design Festival, 15th -25th September 2007
Location: Southbank Centre London. The Corian® project will be installed outside the Royal Festival Hall.
Featuring: Amanda Levete – Future Systems working with DuPont™ Corian®, Zaha Hadid Architects working with Aggregate Industries, Thomas Heatherwick Studio working with Lafarge.
The Corian® Project – Statistics:
Designed by Amanda Levete – Future Systems
Fabricated by BD Fabrications
Structurally engineered by Arup
Installed by MGPM / Powells

Approx Dimensions: 8.5m wide x 19.5m long x max 4.4m high

Comprises: 220 interlocking leaves of Corian® in Glacier White. Each leaf measures 850mm x 850mm and is thermoformed using a male-female mold.

A videoblog of the fabrication process will be online soon at: www.londondesignfestival.com and www.corian.co.uk

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Posted on Thursday, July 26th, 2007 at 3:27 pm by . See our copyright policy. Before commenting, please read our comments policy.