Mimicking the natural order in nature, the Transparent Shell installation at the Guangzhou Design Week offers a transcendental experience of how we can interact with interior and exterior spaces from a different perspective.
The Nautilus shell may be famed for its phi proportions and Fibonnaci golden spirals, but shell-inspired manifestations do not just stop there. For the Guangzhou Design Week, Pone Architecture employed the form of shells to rediscover the alternating potential of organized construction, resulting in their award-winning installation, “Transparent Shell” which portrays the ideal of integrating architecture to further interact and blend cities, environments, human beings and space.
Comprising 30 main bone models and 3 groups of large curves, the shell features multiple layers of woven and crisscross transparent films where an interface of dynamic tension is unfolded into a space filled with flowing dynamics. “Between concurring and conflicts, the shell produces various functional spaces, such as entrance, wall, ceiling, window, desktop or seating area.
Visitors may feel free to use them and imagine the meaning of different “shell” functions, thus constructing a space with “flexible and functional ideas”. Being translucent and unstable, the spaces gleam with light and shadow and keep changing between manifestations and fading. The multi-layers of open combinations are the new representation and interpretation of internal and external open sites that interact both inside and outside. Derived from concepts, Transparent Shell gains inspiration from a rich variety of sequences in nature. By dissecting, extracting shell structures and restructuring, it reveals the tension of life evolution,” the firm explains.
To connect the interface of the shell, transparent films were woven into the structure to give it a silk-like quality while maintaining the organic and casual form. The film allows the penetration of light, producing a flexible and transcendental effect of light and shadow that results in a translucent, somewhat mystical effect – exemplifying what the designers idealise as a stable yet uncertain world. For the core of the structure, metal frames and a series of irregular curved steels were employed
“Each of the 30 arched frames varies in its undulating rhythm, irregular and poly-directional,” say the architects. “It is a big challenge to see how we can accurately capture the localization and to fully restore the overall form. We went through a lot of experiments and eventually came up with the simplest and most effective method. The curves in the helix were selected for accurate radian in each segment so as to get the accurate nodes. The 3-D coordination of each node was positioned in the space, based on which another curve was made by stretching steel pipes. Then, they were joined in groups for interconnection. Finally, a 3-D dynamic and freely-crisscrossing helix skeleton prototype came into being. After the skeleton was assembled, the transparent films were used to link the interface: step 1. base laying, step 2. silk stroking, and step 3. weaving. The whole weaving process is like silkworms spinning around cocoons. Rather than calling it a construction process, it is as a show of “behavioral art”.