A stunning Herman Miller store-in-store at Marina Square uses ‘fabricwood’ to frame entrances and create impact. The store is part of furniture and lighting retailer Xtra’s latest flagship and the ‘fabricwood’ effect is created by bending 280 panels of plywood into giant arches ranging from a low three metres at the entrance to a lofty eight metres at the opposite end. It was conceived by design director Pan Yicheng from Produce. “Occupying a 20m long, 7m wide space, the plywood surf
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surface stretches across the entire site like a sail of tensile fabric, with symmetrical qualities that take on the proportions of the Herman Miller logo,” reports Designboom in a designer-contributed article. “The minimal surface, which reminds one of German architect and structural engineer Frei Otto’s soap film experiments, contains a series of arches that frame the entrances and connections to the rest of Xtra, the street and the adjacent cafe.”
After extensive research for the project, Yicheng was motivated by Herman Miller’s structural and material innovation.
“Indeed, the brand’s use of moulded plywood offers light and elegant furniture, while the study of comfort and ergonomic for their working chairs results in an elastic mesh material stretched at the back of the furniture to create a doubly curved and frameless suspended surface that supports a full range of seating postures.”
Originally used for shaping fabric to fit the human body, Yicheng has exported the technique of ‘darting’ onto plywood. The darts and their respective angles determine the eventual curvature when closed. Circular cut-outs are used at converging points of darts to allow the plywood to bend and avoid tears.
When assembled, fabricwood forms a naturally undulated surface. The most challenging part of the project has been to translate flat pattern drawings into three-dimensional modelling and vice versa. A combination of the latest computer simulation techniques and physical modelling has helped achieve the desired curvature. The elasticity of the plywood has played a major factor in shaping the skin, while the dart angles have been re-calibrated to accommodate any changes to the plywood material.
More images and details about the fabricwood on Designboom.