Stuck-Together Structure: A Packing Tape Design Installation

For Use/Numen

By Laura Raskin

Photo © For Use/Numen

An iteration of For Use/Numen’s installation was recently created at Berlin’s decommissioned Tempelhof Airport. The slide show above shows that version as well as several others. slide show


Watch the Berlin version of the project being assembled.
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In the late 1980s and early ‘90s, choreographer William Forsythe translated geometric forms, lines, and lighting — architectural information — into dance for the Ballett Frankfurt. He was inspired by Daniel Libeskind’s End Space drawings. It was a poignant example of how these two art forms can engage each other.

A deep connection between architecture and dance also sparked the idea for the cocoonlike installation by Austrian-Croatian design firm For Use/Numen. The firm’s three partners envisioned dancers weaving their own stage set with rolls of transparent packing tape, the resulting form born of their movement. Most recently, For Use/Numen built the structure — a hollow, arterial web, reminiscent of an otherworldly creature’s home — with the help of friends at the exhibition institution Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, where it was on view in September.

Depending on the installation’s location, hundreds of rolls of tape are wound around custom scaffolding or existing columns, creating spaces that support the weight of visitors who tumble inside. (The work in the video a left was built at the decommissioned Tempelhof Airport for the DMY International Design Festival Berlin, where it won a festival award.) The ultimate design of the cocoons is spontaneous, like the social interaction that occurs within them.

“We just run around in a big chaos,” says For Use/Numen’s Christoph Katzler. “The shape leads you.” The installation will soon travel to Melbourne, Buenos Aires, and other cities.

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