A degree in landscape urbanism from London’s AA School, a passion for complex origami-like topographies and a graduation in the crisis year of 2008, which held little promise in terms of architectural commissions, – all of this together has triggered Jorge Ayala’s quest for applying architecture technologies to other domains. After having cooperated on Plasma Studio’s 37ha landscape design project in China, the architect has redirected his research towards designing for the human body.
Outcomes – or rather vectors of Ayala’s R&D – vary from actual clothing collections to an upcoming cooperation with Rem D Koolhaas, architect-turned-footwear innovator behind United Nude label, to HR Giger-some «post-digital curiosities» that will be exposed this September at the 9th ArchiLab series in FRAC Centre (Regional Contemporary Art Foundation) @ Orléans, France. Leather and fabrics get transformed by moulding, thermoforming and chemical reactions rather than conventional cutting and sewing. Engineering software is applied to garments and shoes to calculate load distribution or build a complex form with higher precision. Competition projects are translated into textile prints; Maya topographies turn into 3-dimensional textures whose landscape-like qualities are emphasized in more experimental works by a thick brushwood of silvery tailor’s pins or woody toothpicks. The project incorporates a possibility of switching scales once again: the thermo-pleats of a skirt may one day be applied to a curtain wall.
“Catalysts” from the Repository of Post-Digital Curiosities installation: species D, C, F and H
One of Ayala’s key interests explored in the upcoming Orléans exhibition is the translation of 3-dimensional digital structures into physical objects. In search for alternatives to expensive rapid prototyping technique the designer proposes what he calls «processual» prototyping that relies on both high and low-tech. «Reaching beyond the digital process, the result adopts and adapts the human silhouette, offering different versions of a trans-human body,» comments Ayala.
“Epidermis” from the Repository of Post-Digital Curiosities installation: species C and D
Organized on the basis of the periodic table, the installation shows a collection of «species» that represent different stages of the production process. «Catalyzers» are hand-stitched moulds comprising 300 contours; «Epidermis» are skins created by dip-casting of laser cut moulds in natural rubber latex, while opaque «Exoskeletons» and transparent «Crystals» are produced by pouring thermosetting resin into dip-cast latex anti-moulds.
“Crystals” from the Repository of Post-Digital Curiosities installation: species B and D