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  • 06.04.12

A Twisting Helix Made From Thousands Of Spools Of Thread

German/Japanese architects Kawahara Krause use string to conjure up surfaces and volumes, experimenting with extreme geometric minimalism.

It’s day one of middle school geometry: A line is made from an infinite number of points, and a plane is made from an infinite number of lines. An installation at this summer’s Hamburg Architecture Triennale demonstrates Euclid’s millennia-old insight using thousands of feet of string and paint. Line Surface Space is a collaboration between German/Japanese office Kawahara Krause Architects and noted abstract expressionist painter Nobuko Watabiki.

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Line Surface Space questions the excessivity and waste of contemporary architecture by doing more with less. A lot less. “How much definition does an area need,” the Hamburg-based architects wondered, “in order to become recognizable?” Using wool thread tensioned on steel screws at floor and ceiling, they spun lines into planes, and planes into two nested cubes. “A clear plan and readily available materials create a complex spatial situation,” explain the architects in their statement. “All materials used have a minimal energy footprint, low freight weight, and can easily be recycled or reused.”

Finally, Nobuko Watabiki was invited to use the harp-like walls as a canvas. Her organic shapes (which she has said depict “people wanting things”) complicate the framework, creating interference in an otherwise simple geometric proof.

Hamburg’s Architektur Sommer continues until August.

About the author

Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan is Co.Design's deputy editor.

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