Cite’ de l’architecture et du Patrimoine: Architecture for Children in Paris, France, in collaboration with Eduardo Benamor Duarte, is hosting an event showing two projects: Onion Pinch and Napping Pod which started December 8th, 2010 and runs until February 27th.
Onion Pinch is a cork installation originally conceived in occasion of the Digital Primitive Event proposed as a parallel event of the Lisbon Biennial Experimental Design.
The design is a Babies and Adult Rest Station designed for the Cais du Sodre Lisbon Subway Station.
Napping pod is a proposal for boarding schools and collective napping spaces. Imagine a branching tree, a babies tree, babies growing in the space like flowers and fruits. More images and project descriptions after the break.
By approaching the project we immediately understood that we wanted to construct a space affecting user’s behavior, a real place that people would recognize as such. We wanted to create a space having the capacity to transform, by its physicality, the life in a subway station.
In order to achieve our goal, like surgeons we started to study and to dissect the material we were using for the installation: the cork. We wanted to identify a design concept and a very simple construction technique. We wanted to create an intimate relation between material properties and user’s physicality. Cork was reduced to a list of material properties and attributes that could interact with people: Texture, Granularity, Porosity, Acoustic insulation, Density, Thickness and finally the most important: Flexibility.
Cork is very flexible. Flexibility means elasticity and vibration. A response to touch to body pressure. Thanks to its flexibility, it was possible to shape the cork. We wanted to offer a dynamic shelter, an hammock, a space: the project was achieved by literally folding fifteen strips of cork to obtain an onion ring effect.
The onion rings were realized with different cork types and thicknesses. The installation was articulated in a series of internal paths in which babies could run, walk, climb, lay and rock. The tracks were articulated by the opening or closing of the profiles. Shape and profile transformations were obtained by literally pinching the cork with a bolt. When placed on the higher positions of the profile, the onion configuration would open up. Moving the bolt toward the ground made the shape close down.
The unique parameter, ‘position on the Z axis of the bolt’, affected another condition of the rings: the flexibility or level of vibration. Therefore with the form transformation the rigidity of the shape also changed. For the more open type of profile the flexibility was higher. A simple touch could activate the ring vibration by literally transforming the Onion in culls. For the more rigid shapes the vibration was limited.
Beside the apparent rigidity of the design approach, when installed in the subway the onion installation immediately became an urban toy. People slowed down from their everyday rhythm and looked at the installation, touched it, pushed it and tested the different reactions of the onion to body pressure. Babies immediately appropriate the space. The presence of an extremely alive object, with its texture, with the oscillation of the onion rings, transformed an unfamiliar, cold space like the subway station into a lively oasis. Children entered the space and started to inhabit it.
A group of children literally created a village. Each child inhabited its own onion, lying in its new rocking shell, and made a unique atmosphere in the subway station.
Napping Pod involves a branching tubular structure to support the pods where a baby can nap. Each pod is realized with a double shell. Each baby has a mattress, curved on the bottom part, flat on the top. Personal mattress/pillows can be easily removed and cleaned.
Napping pod has been designed as a sunflower as the orientation varies from pod to pod: in the higher levels, for smaller children, the openings are oriented toward the ceiling. Babies can only enter or exit with the help of an adult. In the lower levels the pods are slightly rotated. In this way babies can enter and exit as they wish.
Pods are dens, nest where hide where develop a secret personal universe. Napping pod is a vision of an universe of protection, amusement, complicity and secrets worlds.
Designer: Caterina Tiazzoldi Expected completion: 2011 Where will it be located: Boarding Schools Team: Andrea Balzano, Monica Pianosi