Soap bubbles, green lycra and minimal surface tension
A spectacular architectural installation of green Lycra inspired by the geometries
of plants, spider webs and soap bubbles has taken over five levels of the
central atrium of Customs House in Sydney.
Green Void is a 20 metre high, suspended site-specific installation by
international group LAVA, using the latest digital fabrication and engineering
The potential for naturally evolving systems such as snowflakes, spider webs and
soap bubbles for new building typologies and structures has continued to
fascinate LAVA – the geometries in nature create both efficiency and beauty.
Their luxury residential tower for Michael Schumacher in Abu Dhabi, for
example, is based on the design of a snowflake.
“The shape of the installation is the result of the most efficient connection of
different boundaries in three-dimensional space, found in plants and corals. We
determined the connection points within the space and the rest is a
mathematical formula with a minimal surface. The concept was achieved with a
flexible material that follows the forces of gravity, tension and growth, similar to
a spider web or a coral reef,” explained LAVA Asia Pacific Director Chris Bosse.
The sculpture, based on minimal surface tension, consists of a tensioned Lycra
material, digitally patterned and custom-tailored for the space. “We wanted to
see how far we could take the idea of creating more space with less material,
filling 3000 cubic meters, the equivalent of 8 million cola cans, with a minimal
surface of 300 square meters weighing only 40 kilograms,” said Mr Bosse.
Green Void is transportable in a sports-bag to any place in the world; it can be
assembled in minimal time, and is fully reusable.
Chris Bosse, Tobias Wallisser and Alexander Rieck make up LAVA, Laboratory for Visionary Architecture, which has established offices in Sydney, Abu Dhabi and Stuttgart over the past 12 months.