Indulge Your Inner Spider in a Massive Web of 80,000 Square Feet of Plastic

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When planning their thesis book show, students at Studio 400, a fifth-year architectural design studio at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, wanted to make a structure that would accommodate reading, social interaction, and of course, climbing. After a month of planning and five days of weaving and installing, the resulting creation, "White," is a Burning Man-worthy dream hangout. Studio 400 shares images of the installation and a behind-the-scenes video below. 

The books themselves hung from above in laser-cut acrylic cases, so that visitors could grab a book and take a seat, hammock-style, in the web. A statement from Studio 400 describes the process of making the structure:

80,000 square feet of plastic sheeting was sliced, loomed, woven, stapled, taped and tied to provide a climbable and malleable surface in the 4,500 square foot gallery. "White" supported a variety of interactive experiences above and below this dynamic surface, opening and exploring the relationships between book, user, material, space, and collective group ...

The installation design began with a brainstorming session that involved direct participation by each of the studio's 20 students. After proposals were presented, it was decided that a climbable surface would divide the space, providing seating for the comfortable reading of the books. An exploration of materials looked at rope, tape, and plastic to create the surface; sheet plastic was ultimately chosen for its flexibility and strength, economic viability given the large space, and its abilities to be easily modified and reused. Once the material was chosen and acquired, studies of traditional weaving methods and full scale mock-ups helped determine the characteristics of the surface. This resulted in a woven surface that could hang in the gallery as well as support the weight of users on it. It was determined that a flexible system of pre-fabricated hanging columns and infill panels would allow the surface to form to specific constraints of the gallery site.

The schematic above and the behind-the-scenes video below reveal how the complex structure came together: 

The video was created by Pablo Sandoval, Farnoosh Rafaie, Mariko Kobayashi, Nathan Kiatkulpiboone, and Ben Hait-Campbell. Studio 400, under Professor Karen Lange, is Annie Bui, Ben Hait-Campbell, Ian Carney, Hanya Chen, Dion Dekker, Christina Hackett, Nathan Kiatkulpiboone, Mariko Kobayashi, Emily Kirwan, Mike Loree, Ross Majewski, Isshin Morimoto, Ryan Nevius, Nick Pappas, Alma Padilla-Iriarte, Farnoosh Rafaie, Pablo Sandoval, Shanna Sullivan, Joe Varholick, and Cory Walker.

All images and video courtesy of Studio 400. 

Via FastCoDesign

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.
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