At this year’s Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival the Los Angeles based practice Ball-Nogues Studio developed this flexible structure on collaboration with students from the Southern California Institute of Architecture.
Here is what the architects explain:
“The Elastic Plastic Sponge was created by students from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) led by Benjamin Ball, Gaston Nogues and Andrew Lyon of the Ball-Nogues Studio. The Elastic Plastic Sponge is a large scale installation and can be twisted, arched and curled to form different types of space including a lounge, a theater, or a large sculptural Mobius strip. In the desert heat of Indio, the architectural installation will provide a respite from the sun by making shade and mist while at night, each “cell” within the Elastic Plastic Sponge supports a fluorescent tube–the tubes shift in orientation relative to each other to create the effect of sweeping motion. The motion effect is evident from close-up as well as impactful from across the vast festival grounds–an important asset in an environment of throngs of festival-goers and competing spectacles.”
“The Elastic Plastic Sponge is a unique structure. In architecture terminology, the phrase that describes a system whose form is derived from its material properties is “form active.” These types of structures are difficult to study using software. They often require architects to explore their designs by testing full-scale mock-ups, and using that empirical information to help inform the process of digital modeling, which is studied in the studio rather than in the field.
The Elastic Plastic Sponge is comprised of 250 cells, each fabricated using custom jigs designed by SCI-Arc students. The cell module is a very effective way of constructing a temporary structure: each can be transported as a flat unit to the Festival and rapidly assembled on site; after the Festival is over, dismantling and transportation to a new site is easy.”
“From the Festival’s standpoint of an event spanning several days, the Elastic Plastic Sponge can be rapidly reconfigured to create unique spatial arrangements each day; its flexibility allows the designers to adapt to changing crowd, climate and site conditions. From a pedagogical standpoint, the Elastic Plastic Sponge’s mutability enabled students to examine its unique structure at full scale; working and reworking its shape as they would a digital model.”
Project Team: Joanne Angeles, Benjamin Ball, Phil Blaine, Seyoung Choi, Dina Giordano, Benlloyd Goldstein, Monica Gutierrez, James Jones, William Kim, Anthony Lagunay, Andrew Lyon, Jorge Miranda, Jeffery Morrical, Gaston Nogues, Mandana Ozlati, Tim Peeters