If you're in Los Angeles this month, don't miss to check out the exhibition Go Figure by LA-based architect Ramiro Diaz-Granados/Amorphis that is currently on view at the Southern California Institute of Architecture. Diaz-Granados will discuss the installation with SCI-Arc director Eric Owen Moss on Friday, February 10, at 7pm.
Seeking to shift the role of the figure from a metaphorical device to a subliminal one, Go Figure promotes simultaneity in the evolution of the delineated figure by distributing cartoon and visceral features across a three-dimensional, spline based form.
Project Description from the Designer:
The contemporary architectural figure has evolved into two coherent strains of formal expression: the paedomorphic (simple, juvenile) and the peramorphic (complex, evolved). Borrowed from the field of evolutionary biology, these terms refer to how an individual organism and a species evolve in relation to their ancestors. The paedomorphic variety privileges simple, child-like features, and alludes to the ‘cartoon’ figure while the peramorphic privileges complicated, visceral features, and alludes to bio-morphism.
Go Figure promotes heterochrony in the evolution of the delineated figure by distributing paedomorphic and peramorphic features across a three-dimensional, spline based form. Also borrowed from evolutionary biology, heterochrony has to do with the displacement in time of a particular set of features in an organism. For example, the homo sapien head is heterochronous in terms of the evolution of skull and jaw from its primate ancestors. The skull is peramorphic in that it has grown larger and more complex while the jaw has become smaller and simpler. In Go Figure, the concept of heterochrony is employed to produce simultaneity with respect to a range of binary attributes (i.e legible vs. sensate, singular vs. multiple, iconic vs. indexical, 2D vs 3D, part vs. whole, graphic vs. material etc.) in the evolution of an iconic figure: the Savoy vase by Alvar Aalto.
The sinuous and undulating top profile of the vase has been associated with the lakes of Finland, thereby granting it an authentic and meaningful status by connecting it to some regional condition. Here, the figure has been scaled up, draped, repeated, and materially reconstituted in order to dislodge it from its previous associations in order to produce novel spatial and affective qualities while retaining its specific attributes as a figure. This project seeks to shift the role of the figure from a metaphorical device to a subliminal one. The figure is legible through its strong profile, contour, and shape, yet is not interested in any pictorial representation. It’s more interested in the use of profile, color, scale, texture, and assembly to produce a physiological response. Its visuality is intended to grab ones attention and lure them into a world of optical and haptic pleasure.
The Savoy figure is scaled up and repeated four times into two symmetrical pairs. Each pair is situated in the gallery according to different transversal regulating lines stemming from the relationship between the ground and the ceiling. One pair is centered within the space, the other is centered under one of the structural bays. Together they fill the space in a composition that confounds the legibility of each figure in favor of more sensate qualities with allusions to calligraphy and graffiti. The figures are made out of powder-coated aluminum sheet, laser cut, and friction-fit. An assembly method has been devised so as to challenge the conventional reliance on hardware. The color palette consists of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. As cmyk is a subtractive color model, this palette is intended to subtract whiteness from the space and produce secondary and tertiary chromas which shift as one moves around and through the installation. Each figure is a unique combination of three of the four colors with a progression from one to the next allowing each color to be used three times.
Project: Go Figure, gallery installation
Location: Southern California Institute of Architecture, Los Angeles, CA
Date: Jan 13 - Feb 24, 2012
Design: Ramiro Diaz-Granados
Design development: Ramiro Diaz-Granados, Daniel Berlin, Mahyoub Aranki
Installation coordinator: Matthew Au
Structural consultant: Bruce Danziger