SummaryThis work was executed by Lara Khazhakyan and Guillaume Mohara, and submitted as part of the Swiss Original â€“ Handmade... Read More
This work was executed by Lara Khazhakyan and Guillaume Mohara, and submitted as part of the Swiss Original â€“ Handmade Creative Project competition offered by Emmentaler AOP. It was selected to participate in an exhibition at Overstudio, Milan, November 12-17.
In creating this artwork, the artists wanted to bring their two different backgrounds and experiences together into one unique object that reflected both of their personalities: one is advancing Engineering in Tokyo, while the other is studying Art History and participating in the Art scene in New York.
The objective of this artwork was to combine science, technology and craftsmanship harmoniously with nature. This work draws inspiration from the snowy environment of the Alps, where life is reclaiming its territory in the form of growing plants similar to what one could observe sprouting in the Alps underneath a Spring snowbed.
The main target was to highlight the themes of nature, sustainability and environmental awareness. The beauty of the Alps impresses and inspires. This artwork truly embraces the eternal beauty of the snow-covered mountains and represents the subtle but noticeable shifts in seasons, when nature wakes up and reminds us of its presence, with grass and flowers poking out of the ivory blanket.
The concept is to combine nature and science, showcasing their awareness of one another and their ability to co-exist together in balance.
Shape and general design
The base design for the structure itself is a gyroid lattice (an infinite repetition of a gyroid pattern). It is a peculiar mathematical geometry, yet also found in nature in cell membranes or even gelatin due to its intrinsic properties. This was a perfect fit for this project, as it combined mathematical beauty while retaining a natural, authentic design. Moreover, to emphasize the background theme of Winter, an outer sphere design and the color white, mimicking a snowball, were selected. The diameter of the sphere is about 12 centimeters. The unit cell dimension of the gyroid pattern was carefully selected so as to allow enough space for the plants to grow inside the holes, while still creating an intertwined, complex structure.
The artwork was fabricated using a 3D printing technique called Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), as this structure is so complex it would be impossible to manufacture otherwise. The material used was a biodegradable plastic called PLA, so as to provide a sustainable and eco-friendly work of art. Using FDM and PLA to construct this shape has proved challenging, but with proper technical expertise, a beautiful and highly precise printed structure was achieved.
Selection of plants
In order to infuse life to the still gyroid structure, inspiration for the concept of using plants was taken from the immense grass fields of Switzerland; looking at this artwork one can also think of wild grass growing through and around brick pavement in urban areas. After consideration of different plants, Tillandsia butzii air plants were selected for this project because they, by nature, only need water and do not need any soil to grow. Small versions of these plants were then handpicked and inserted through some of the natural holes within the structure, where they now rest firmly and only require an occasional spritz of water (every 3-4 days) without being removed. This results in an artistic and almost self-sufficient ecosystem, which requires very little maintenance.
To accentuate the feeling of the ever-expanding white gyroid structure, a transparent, thick glass disk should be used as a base to hold the artwork. This helps to reflect the white deeper than the limit of the physical structure itself. The surrounding is reflective of the subject at hand: a white background maintains the white of the central piece itself and exacerbates the immensity of the Alps, while a similar but red environment fully matches the quintessential swiss origin of this project. Thus, the artwork is presented on several backgrounds.
All the aforementioned techniques and crafts resulted in an original and authentic artwork that draws inspiration from both nature and human expertise, combining traditional aspects like the use of natural materials, manual work and craftsmanship, and on the other hand advanced technologies such as 3D printing. In essence, this piece can be seen as a prototype for larger and even more complex gyroid-based artwork series, and therefore is only the first step to a new kind of creativity embracing both nature and new technologies.
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