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This month’s focus covers the latest in architectural materials, including new metal, wood, plastic, and resin offerings. Also featured are several resource showrooms that help make the specification process of hard-to-source materials easier for those searching for new options. óRita F. Catinella

Click images to view them larger.



Tom Kundig’s Resin Table/Folded Stair (left foreground) and Jeanne Gang’s Wrinkled Rug (left background). Lorcan O’Herlihy’s Convex/ Concave (above).

Exhibition explores the design potential of stainless-steel mesh
Cambridge Architectural Mesh (CAM) recently debuted a redesigned, handcrafted stainless-steel-mesh collection. Organized into four categories, the collection includes Veil, a large-scale, flexible open weave to shade and screen structures; Drape, a flexible open weave for window treatments and space dividers; Fill, a rigid open weave for stair rails and grillwork; and Panel, a rigid closed weave for stair-rail systems, elevator cabs, and surface panels.

Last February, to coincide with the launch of the line and demonstrate new application ideas, CAM presented Restructure: New Forms in Architectural Mesh, an event and exhibition held at the American Federation of Arts in New York City. The architects presenting conceptual objects in the show included Tod Williams, FAIA, and Billie Tsien, AIA, of TWBTA, New York; Tom Kundig, FAIA, of Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen, Seattle; Jeanne Gang, AIA, of Studio Gang, Chicago; Lorcan O’Herlihy, AIA, of LOh/a, Los Angeles; and Craig Konyk, AIA, of kOnyk, New York City. Jesse Reiser, AIA, and Nanako Umemoto, of RUR Architecture, New York City, and Chad Oppenheim, AIA, of Oppenheim Architecture + Design, Miami, featured projects currently in development that use CAM’s mesh.

For the show, each team was assigned one of the new CAM product categories and asked to design a project that illustrates the capabilities of the material within their own design context. Design parameters were limited only for size and weight.

Cocurated by Marybeth Shaw of Shaw-Jelveh Design, Baltimore, and Susan Grant Lewin, of Susan Grant Lewin Associates, New York City, Restructure will travel to the 2005 AIA Convention in Las Vegas, where it will be on view May 19–21. There are tentative plans to take it to Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, and Seattle. Cambridge Architectural Mesh, Cambridge, Md.   [ Reader Service # 200 ]



Cast resin inlay from Robin Reigi.

Research for corporate clients keeps New York resource firm on top of the material world
Robin Reigi, a New York–based architectural resource company that provides innovative materials and processes to the A&D community, has recently branched into material research. Led by partners Robin Reigi and Jennifer Daly, the firm has built an advanced materials library for General Motors, worked with Nickelodeon to choose colorful and tactile materials for its licensing trade-show booth, and is currently in the second phase of work for Zeeland, Michigan–based furnishings manufacturer Herman Miller.

“Herman Miller gave us a design problem for a new product line, and we were asked to find appropriate materials to meet its criteria,” explains Reigi. These included issues such as high acoustic absorbancy, as well as more conceptual matters, such as products that help convey intimacy as well as professionalism.

The team spent several weeks searching for and reviewing samples from dozens of manufacturers around the world. In the end, they sent their client 10 different items that met the criteria in the form of samples and a CD of specs. Following this, the team presented the various options to Rick Duffy, Herman Miller’s vice president for CMF Design and Development, and those options will be used for the next phase of product development, which will include cost analysis, prototyping, and design development. “[Reigi] has a good network of material connections and serves as a great conduit of cool stuff and innovative breakthroughs,” says Duffy.

Impressed with their work on the first phase, Herman Miller has asked the team to create an innovative materials library for them that would serve to inspire and educate the design team for future projects. The library, made of 75 custom samples, is currently under production.

“Our task is not just to obtain stock samples from vendors, as any librarian would, but to art direct the making of custom samples that push the limits of a material and show its more impressive capabilities,” Reigi explains. She hopes that this new chapter will not only keep her firm on the cutting edge of the material world, but will allow it to be a more effective resource to its other clients—the A&D community. Robin Reigi, New York City. [ Reader Service # 201 ]



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