2014 - Vortex Bookcase (Joris Laarman)

The Vortex Bookcase was the very first project I worked on at Joris Laarman Studio, but still is the one that I am most fond of. At the start we didn’t have much more than the visualisations of Mark J. Stocks’ research on computational vortex methods, that had been the main inspiration behind the idea. The actual design and level of complexity still had to be discovered.

The challenge was to produce the ornamental shelves in a constructive way, without losing the beauty of the subtle thin lines. Soon we concluded that realizing such curvature in a material efficient way
We started experimenting with pressing thin layers of aluminium together. After adding a top- and bottom layer of carbon fibre, we turned out to have a stiff and functional sandwich material, that we could ‘slide’ into shape without the need for high bending forces.

We designed a cnc milled/lasercut mould system, that could provide the needed pressure, once in place. SInce the total curve length of the biggest parts is over 20m, even the slowest hardening adhesive wouldn’t give us enough time.
Storing at -25ºC and allowing a seam line in the middle of the biggest part, gave us just enough time to finish within the setting time of the glue, resulting in a few 24 hour shifts I will never forget.

After my internship, I was asked to lead the development of this piece for the ‘Bits and Crafts’ exhibition in the Friedman Benda Gallery in New York, were it was exposed for the first time. Since then it’s been part of the travelling solo exhibition of the Lab; currently on show at the Cooper Hewitt Museum.