160 pedestals were designed and fabricated for the Open House event of Singapore University of Technology and Design with more than 5,000 visitors over two days. The main ambition was to break the conventional organisation of a public event with booths resembling the ambiance of a trade fair. This resulted in the development of a small structure with a thin plywood sheet on top and a set of reciprocally interlocking plywood legs. The pedestals were distributed in a continuous and undulating pattern to establish a coherent overall appearance. They could be configured in 28 types with four different heights between 60 and 105 cm, and with inclination angles between 0 and 30 degrees in incremental steps of 5. The cutting shapes were reverse-engineered by unrolling the bent and conical geometries, so that they would have perfectly square projected geometries as final results.
The fabrication (construction) was simplified for a cheap and fast production. Plywood sheets were cut out at the corner and then rejoined along the cutting edges, which puts it into a mode of active bending. Deforming and stitching them with zip ties, the sheets gain stability despite the material’s initially very low stiffness. The project revisits the concept in opposing conditions of material softness and stiffness, and instability versus stability through manipulation and deformation.
The TECTONIC logic reveals a level of simplicity that is coherent across structural, construction and aesthetic evaluation. The light coloured plywood resembles appearance and haptic qualities on the intersection of Western (such as Scandinavian furniture design) and Eastern cultures (Japanese minimalism). The curved sheets produce a strong sense of immersive experience, as the cone-like geometry creates a slight acoustic echo and allows the viewer to dive into the content space of the displayed information and physical exhibits.