Straddling both sculptural and architectural spheres, the award-winning Dynamics in Impermanence was created in close collaboration with the Sydney based architect and designer, Nicole Larkin, for Sydney’s 20th Sculpture by the Sea exhibition in 2016.

Perched on the sandstone lookout at Mackenzies Point, near Tamarama Beach, Larkin’s seminal piece, a Birch Plywood conical shelter, offered two distinct experiences. Physically, it was an exquisitely crafted inhabitable pavilion for intimate reflection, whilst conceptually, it demonstrated the merging of form and structure with seamless equilibrium.

Élan was approached by Larkin at the project’s outset to assist technically with her ongoing exploration of Birch Plywood’s malleable qualities through digital fabrication. An interactive process of prototyping was used to finely tune the wood’s cut pattern, whilst a CNC milling machine punctured two continuous, flexible sheets to a precise pattern, demonstrating the flexibility of the material whilst maintaining its structural integrity. Minimal fixings were used to streamline assembly, resulting in two conjoined textile-like shells of slotted wood interlocking along a central spine, fanning out along one edge and bunching along the other.

Élan’s mastered dexterity of precision milling to manipulate the delicate ribs of the shelter’s molded armature achieved an optimum balance of flexibility and strength. In situ, these sculptural elements became temporal. Shifting shadow lines from light and darkness became part of its ethereal beauty over a 24-hour evolution (especially as it was lit during nightfall), creating fleeting spatial experiences within and around the work.

Strong, yet delicate, this rhythmic structure yielded Larkin the Good Design Young Australian Design Award for Sustainability in 2017.

See footage of a day in the life of the sculpture in situ here.

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