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Fashion[ING] Objects, Austin, USA
Monday 31 Dec 2012
“Context” is rooted with the fundamental component of the fashion industry : the coat hanger. The fashion backdrop performs as a calibrated instrument for pattern, light, and shadow
“Fashion[ing] Objects” is a functional threshold and an instrument for space and light, creating maximal impact with minimal means by arranging and reconfiguring everyday objects in unexpected ways. It is an original backdrop installation piece designed and fabricated by the Austin, Texas architecture firm MF Architecture, and commissioned for the Austin Tribeza Style Week Fashion Show, held in September 2012.
Approaching the topic of "context" from an atypical angle, the design process was spawned by the wire clothes hanger. Taking cues from the fashion industry, the object itself is derived from clothing, approximating the human body as a surrogate for the rigid structure of the human shoulder. When arrayed, the individual hangers fall away in favor of an ethereal collective whole. Upon closer inspection, however, there remains the mundane everyday structural component of the fashion industry: the wire hanger.
The backdrop is built in two sections in order to allow an 8’-0” aperture for runway model passage, and is suspended from a scaffolding structure behind. The dimensions are 11’ x 2’ x 9’ for the left portion, and 23’ x 2’ x 9’ on the right for a total of 306 square feet of backdrop surface, and comprises of approximately 5,000 paper-covered clothes hangers. The design of the runway backdrop incorporates both rigid and fluid layers, establishing a tension between a grid system and an amorphous organic form. These two systems are nicknamed “feathers” and “diamonds,” respectively, and at times, the diamonds erode to reveal the organic feathery beast beyond.
The wall as a whole is then backlit to yield a confounding yet intriguing organism, utterly removed from any association with its simple modular unit, yet impossible without it. With this in mind, even the plainest of objects can be celebrated; the quotidian coat hanger transcends to create a powerful, theatrical, and meaningful public spatial experience.