Bayou-luminescence is an architectural installation that fuses material surface, structural volume and lighting effects into an immersive spatial experience. Cast from translucent urethane rubber, and highly differentiated in its pattern geometry, the ornamental synthetic skin is stretched over a curved steel framing system. The resultant lace-like pattern expands the range of opulent surfaces found in the New Orleans region, from the alligator skin and tropical vegetation of its natural landscape to the wrought ironwork and provocative lingerie in the city. Scaled so that it is larger than a single body, but smaller than a conventional room, the self-supporting volume is both a temporary skin for the individual inside and a lantern that through intricate illumination transforms a larger social space. Composed of two conjoined forms - one which embraces viewing from outside and another which is to be walked into - the overall volume suggest that, in morphogenetic terms, it may be a part of a larger, cellular condition, and that it is thus a part of a greater system. Structurally, the volume utilizes the tension between the elastic rubber surface and the rigid metal frame. Experimental in intent, the project is a result of the collaborators’ mutual interest and ongoing research into opportunities afforded by digital design and fabrication and their impact of analog assembly and material properties in architecture.
Bayou-luminescence was one of the winning entries submitted for the annual citywide exhibition DesCours, the realization of which was made possible through funding by the New Orleans chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The installation was originally on view from December 2-11, 2011. It was designed, fabricated, and installed in collaboration with Matt Hutchinson of the San Francisco-based firm PATH.