0807 Topotable

The proposal was to test the possibilities of digitally-based architecture in the context of exhibition spaces by interface using CAD/CAM methods. The organisation of the exhibition design often advocates generic spaces–often labelled “White Cubes” – against which to display works of art. This is at odd with the complexity of digital-based design which requires immersive conditions and flexibility that necessitate a re-thinking of the relation between the displayed object and its exhibition environment.

The project aims at challenging the traditional sectional profile characterising tables’ designs. Freed from the functional necessity to be strictly flat and neutral in relation to the objects displayed, the top surface is altered to engage in a deeper and more dynamic way with objects and viewers. By “inflating” the horizontal line coinciding with the top plain, two undulating, continuous landscapes – the top and bottom profile of the table – provide a range of spatial conditions for models to be positioned. This apparently simple move transforms the tables from a neutral surface into a volume; a body whose presence affects both the surrounding space and the objects exhibited. Like a curatorial strategy, the models need to establish their own relation with the ‘peaks’ and ‘falls’ of the table.

The project focuses on the gap between the demand for generic exhibition spaces and exuberant and complex geometries made available by digital tools. The final piece is an interface design that is using the potentials to manipulate and implement complex surfaces through computers to establish a closer interaction between the body of the viewer and the material displayed. The best students’ works of the 2007-8 academic year were displayed in the piece.

Topology (Greek topos, “place,” and logos, “study”) is the branch of mathematics that studies the properties of a space that are preserved under continuous deformations. Topology grew out of geometry, but unlike geometry, topology is not concerned with metric properties such as distances between points. Instead, topology involves the study of properties that describe how a space is assembled, such as connectedness and orientability. In plan as well, the conventional rectangular shape is substituted by a more dynamic silhouette with pockets and recesses that allows the viewer to be fully immersed in the space and become part of the installation itself. A miniaturised, playful interactive stage is thus created where displayed items and exhibition environment no longer remain indifferent to each other’s presence but rather interact to transform the relation between the viewer, the object displayed, and the surrounding environment.

As part of the Department of Architecture at the Royal College of Art in London. Architecture Design Studio 1 (ADS1) – taught by Roberto Bottazzi and Tobias Klein – has been working on an innovative project that has been constructed in the occasion of the Graduation Show between June 21 and July 4 2008.