The Great Wave

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The Great Wave

This ceiling project was inspired by Hokusai’s famous wood-block print, “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”. The purpose of this ceiling project was to create a feature ceiling that showcases the ability of a curved fabric system. And what better undulating surface to emulate than the ebb and flow of ocean waves?

With that in mind, we set out to construct a parametric surface that would span the whole length of our office ceiling, taking cues from Hokusai’s work, The Great Wave off Kanagawa.

Modelling

In Rhino, we set up a base model of the office, accounting for the elements that would interact with our new ceiling; the existing lighting, air-conditioning units, and utilities. The ceiling was divided lengthwise into four segments and allotted control points. Each segment was sandwiched by pairs of curves that corresponded to their control points.

By generating a surface between two asynchronous curves, we form a three-dimensionally curved surface. Using Grasshopper, we wrote a script which generated these surfaces and allowed us to move the control points of each segment, making it possible for us to edit the individual curves and watch how these modifications affect the surfaces in real time. This made it easy to tweak the overall form to our liking.

Construction

The feature ceiling would be constructed out of wooden struts, which would for the backbone for the Fabrix system and fabric covering.

CNC machining was used to manufacture the eighty wooden struts to precision. Over the course of two days, the workers fastened the struts securely to our office ceiling. The rest of the time was spent attaching Fabrix tracks to the struts, and carefully tucking the three hues of blue fabric into the tracks. 

It was mesmerising to watch these complex curves we had only seen in CAD materialise in the span of a week. The construction of the timber carcass took only 4 days, and the wrapping of the fabric another 3 days.

Completion

We were spoilt for choice from a huge selection of blue fabrics, but finally decided to settle on the Camira Cara range. The colors are Galilee EJ125, Inverness EJ175, and Cluanie EJ180. Four beautiful, unbroken waves of fabric now hang above our heads at the office, bringing a little spectacle to our everyday workspace.

This project was only made possible by the relentless effort of our lovely intern Simon-Nathaniel Kyle, who is an architectural student at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). He spent an eventful 8 weeks with us during the Summer Internship ’19 batch.

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