Field Files

Field Files is based on new possibilities afforded by the use of CNC technologies. There are two cabinetry types. They are both conceived as monolithic objects –like butcher blocks that are carved out of massive pieces of stacked plywood. Traditional distinctions between functional and symbolic elements – tops, fronts, hardware, structure, and surface are eliminated in lieu of a smoothed and singular strategy; all aspects of the design are accounted for through the act of routing into the depth of the wood. Both pieces of cabinetry are designed to accommodate repetition as well as variation, an option easily afforded as a result of digital fabrication. So too, each piece capitalizes upon three-axis milling techniques to produce artificial and invented graining as a result of the striations latent within laminated plywood constructions.

The first cabinet is composed of a stacked laminate counter top whose lines run parallel to the cabinetry front. Consistent with the top, the cabinetry front laminates appear as extensions of the end-grain. The front is routed out in a fashion to create a smooth transition from the counter top extending the end-grain down the cabinetry front ”” turning the corner, as it were. The routed front is subjected to various undulations that perform in a variety of ways. Their depth is maximized in the center so that two pulls are created for the opening of the drawers’ fronts. They are recessed and compressed at the edges to create a reveal when two cabinetry fronts are put side by side. The profile of the bottom is also left to undulate as if draped like a piece of fabric, countering the static and monolithic image of the stacked wood piece.

The second cabinetry type is composed of stacked plywood that runs perpendicular to the cabinetry fronts. The end-grain turns the corner and descends the fronts in a continuous fashion so as to enhance the monolithic nature of the piece. Similar to the other cabinet type, the front acquires undulations that enable the design of cabinetry pulls at the seam between the top and bottom drawers. The undulations are flattened at the edges to enable flush connections between two adjoining cabinet fronts. The resulting appearance acquires a paradoxical reading as the solid nature of the wood block confronts the taut and fluid nature of the fabric-like surface.

Field Files is based on new possibilities afforded by the use of CNC technologies. There are two cabinetry types. They are both conceived as monolithic objects capitalizing upon three-axis milling techniques to produce artificial and invented graining as a result of the striations latent within laminated plywood constructions.

Project News

Field Files published in On Site Review: Architecture and Sewing

Better, Hansy Luz. “The Laszlo Files.” On Site Review: Design at Work, vol.8, 2002, 17.

[Re]Viewing the Tectonic

Shane presented a paper titled “Of Digital Processes and Spatial Relations” at the recent 2000 ACSA: East Central Regional Conference at the University of Michigan.

Abstract: Geometry primers are almost unanimous in presenting the fundamental ideas of space as resting upon Euclidean concepts such as straight lines, angles, squares, circles, measurements, and the like. This view would appear to derive support from studies in perception of visual and tactile ‘gestalten’. On the other hand, abstract geometrical analysis tends to show that fundamental spatial concepts are not Euclidean, but that they are topological, based entirely on qualitative or ‘bi-continuous’ correspondences involving concepts like proximity and separation, order and enclosure. In accordance with Piagetian theory, a child’s space, which is essentially of an active and operational character, invariably begins with this simple topological type of relationship long before it becomes projective or Euclidean. First, I would like to present design research that investigates the role of topology in terms of spatial relations and the generation of form. Through the utilization of topological modelers and computer numerically controlled (CNC) processes this research explores the intermodal relations of vision and touch. Among other topics, I will addresses physically based modeling of nonrigid materials and the promise of a haptic paradigm within a digital design environment.

Second, I would like to present two furniture pieces that reexamine and reassess the relationship of surface to construction. Traditional distinctions between functional and symbolic elements – tops, fronts, hardware, structure, surface — are eliminated in these two pieces of cabinetry in lieu of a smooth and singular strategy; all aspects of the design are accounted for through the act of routing into the depth of the wood. Both pieces are designed to accommodate repetition as well as variation, an option easily afforded through digital modeling. So too, each piece capitalizes on three-axis milling techniques to produce artificial and invented graining as a result of the striations latent within laminated plywood constructions. Challenging modern orthodoxy’s treatment of surface as skindeep, detached, and supplemental, these cabinets designed in collaboration with Office dA seek to integrate surface and solid. As a result of the calculated removal of material through milling, the cabinets acquire a perverse reading in which the draped qualities of fabric conflict with the monolithic qualities of wood block to contradict any preconception that surface is merely veneer.

Field Files profiled in Praxis: Detail/Specificity in Architecture

Yoon, Meejin. “Deceit/Fabrication.” Praxis, vol. 1, no. 1, April 2000, 18-19.
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