Robotic Woven Canopy Envelops Courtyard

FRIDAY, JUNE 30, 2017

An installation of knitted light is on display at the Museum of Modern Art.

Designed by Jenny Sabin Studio, the installation, known as Lumen, is comprised of digitally knitted and robotically woven fiber that spans the courtyard of the MoMA PS1. Lumen is also the winning design of this year’s Young Architects Program. The installation will be on display from June 29 to Sept. 4.

The Installation

The exhibition, which is made of 1 million yards of digitally knitted and robotically woven fiber, is constructed into two large canopies, with 250 hanging tubular structures to encourage visitor interaction. Construction required 100 recycled spool stools. The installation’s organic connected appearance was produced using mathematically formulated form-finding solutions, notes the design studio’s website.

Lumen responds to social and environmental prompts by monitoring the number of people in the exhibit while also adapting to heat and sunlight. During the daytime and under the right conditions, Lumen releases a cooling mist for passersby, which creates a microclimate. By night, the canopy looks as if it is made of knitted light. What makes Lumen glow is its photo-luminescent and solar reactive yarns.  

As the winning design of this year’s Young Architects Program, Lumen serves as the setting for the 20th Warm Up, the MoMA PS1’s outdoor summer music series. For the competition, according to the MoMA, architects had to develop creative ideas for a temporary outdoor installation that factors in shade, seating, water and environmental sustainability.

“The Young Architects Program remains one of the most significant opportunities for architects and designers from across the country and the world to build challenging yet transformative ideas,” said Sean Anderson, the associate curator of MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design.

Jenny Sabin Studio

By night, the canopy looks as if it is made of knitted light. What makes Lumen glow is its photo-luminescent and solar reactive yarns.

Other than the focus of the Young Architects Program, Sabin also drew inspiration from the flexibility and sensitivity of the human body. The designer also wanted to create a space that fostered respite, exchange and engagement, according Sabin’s website. On top of this, Jenny Sabin Studio focuses on working in an intersection of biology, mathematics, architecture and science. Sabin herself is the newly-appointed director of graduate studies in the Department of Architecture at Cornell University.

“Jenny Sabin's catalytic environment, Lumen, captured the jury's attention for imaginatively merging radical materials with unique spaces,” Anderson added. “With innovative construction and design processes borne from a critical merging of technology and nature to precise attention to detail at every scale, Lumen will no doubt engage visitors from day to night in a series of graduated environments and experiences.”

The MoMA PS1 serves as an exhibition space, rather than a collecting institution, that focuses on featuring the world’s leading experimental art.


Tagged categories: Architecture; Climate monitoring; Color + Design; Color + Design; North America; Public spaces

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