[Image of fabric formed beam - could be used as bench, by CAST at University of Manitoba, Canada]
Fabric formed beam - or bench
Above image is cast as a beam of 22 metres. - I've sat on it, so you could use it as a bench, I guess - What's interesting about this piece when it comes to producing a long span is the fact that it was cast in just two flat sheets of fabric!
The beam is actually quite old and the good people at CAST (very firgurative abreviation for Centre for Architectural Structures and Technology at the University of Manitoba).
Do read more about the pioneering work at CAST and professor Mark West here.
[Image of Buenos Aires concrete bench by Grupo Bondi, 2010]
[Detail of concrete bench with aluminium clamp tube, photo from Grupo Bondi]
Fabric formed furniture
The pieces of furniture by the Argentinian Grupo Bondi definitely look familiar. (see the post on the Ambiguous Chair here). The guys have been working with flexible molds for some years and, opposed to the research pieces done elsewhere, there's actually price tags on most items.
The bench weighs 145 kgs. The concrete mattress sits on iron legs and will fool you with the apparent upholstered bulges. Previous work could be shells? The cushion below is only 39 kgs according to the designers.
[Concrete furniture by Grupo Bondi]I bet that those pieces must have been cast in fabrics or similar flexible formwork. Do check out the web site for more design ideas cast in flexible formwork and products to order.
The stunning shell solution
I need to show you a more recent project from CAST. Ronnie Araya works there as an assistant Professor and did these beautiful thin shells that also have some spin off work for furniture. - the overall interest is architectural structures - but, as mentioned befor - working with technologies at a furniture scale is an interesting starting point - and something that is more likely to sooner have a life outside the studio than large load bearing structures.
I wrote more about this piece in this previous post
[Image of rigid fabric formwork and the cast shell - I think this is a scale model in plaster. Image courtesy of CAST]
[Image of full scale PVC-coated mold ready to be cast with GFRC, Glass Fibre Reinforced Concrete, Photo from CAST].
Read more about the stunning shell work at CAST here. The words is that the studio is doing a project with shells like these - so I guess work does get out of the lab! Can't wait to see it!