A couple of weeks ago, my boss spent the weekend at his daughter’s flat in Canary Wharf in London. Photographs from the trip reminded me of an interior design competition I entered with a couple of friends about 5 years ago. The brief was to design the fit out of the penthouse on one of the new apartment blocks being built at the time. Back then, the internet was beginning to reach what felt like a critical mass of useful information, dynamic computer modelling and hypersurface theory was beginning to influence formal possibilities and (as I’ve mentioned previously) I was reading a lot of texts on deconstructive philosophy.
The brochure advertising the development made some abismal claims about how the apartments would connect the occupant to ‘quintissential London’ and went on to prove it by showing pictures of shops selling Italian designer clothes. We were left wondering how someone living 50 storeys above an air conditioned concierge, whose only connection with the city was through wrap around full height glazing, would actually connect to anything; let alone quintissential London. The answer seemed to lie in the windows… (click on the images to see the full size version)
The current Canary Wharf geographical context exists only through the visual primacy of framed pictorial views controlled by a system of WindowsTM.
The London Docklands desktop theme is supplied as default on start-up. An intervention into the existing architectural operating system is commenced by the installation of a new autonomous program. The introduction of new information forces the background to recede and locational priority is destroyed. Where would you like to go today? As each new program is installed and the system registry is increasingly traumatised, connection with the WindowsTM system is made tenuous. Crash. Reboot. System corrupted. Format disk [Y/N]?
Acceptance of a context free spatial position1 and intervention within an already initiated process2, generates an internalised, self-referencing, non-place architecture.
Space is carved arbitrarily by the force diagram scribed by “…the dichotomy of living between the physical and the digital…”3. The activated external surface of the data plane is manipulated by the information pimp, who lurches through the x, y and z co-ordinates with minimal physical effort, sending his e[version] 4 out to work from the comfort of his own executive chair.
As the data field records the journey of the e[version], it’s deformation freezes the moments of contact and simultaneously implicates all others within the mesh. As the user descends from the chair, the mouth of the data surface opens. The negative result of previous positive actions becomes the void between the data planes and forms the volume of physical living space. The reconciliation of physical and digital occurs as a point of equilibrium between the tension of opposite forces. Take a shit, have sex, drink a glass of water. The boundaries of movement reconfigure the volume; until the e[version] is found and activated again…
The result wasn’t quite what the judges expected, but we managed an honorary mention and made it to the final seven entries; which wasn’t we’d expected either. The text for the project was also the birth of my obligatory internet pseudonym.
It’s about time my friends and I got together for some more competition entries.
- 50 storeys above the ground plane in a homogenous spatial system – the flat in question was on the top floor of the building
- the external envelope was complete at this point
- taken from the competition brief
- e[version]: the e[lectronic] version of the user
eversion: n. 1. The act of turning inside out. 2. The condition of being turned outward. (Dictionary of the English Language)
eversion: casting the virtual world unto the real, multi-threading virtual/real and actual/possible. (Marcos Novak / A.D Profile 133)