BOFFO Building Fashion is a program pairing young architects with independent designers to collaborate on pop-up retail spaces. In 2013, the space was two shipping containers on the SuperPier and the designer was Michael Bastian. Bastian sought a space in line with the concepts guiding his fall winter collection: New England Gothic, Andrew Wyeth, and of unknown transformation. Luca Andrisani Architects was a finalist for this competition.
Above the shore of the Hudson waits a pupa. Its bulges commit to no geometry and its diaphanous skin veils minimal structure. Into its mouth it accepts visitors preoccupied with their own potential wrappings for the new season’s chill. The clean white center is ruptured by ingrowths of the dark shell: destructive, chaotic but hinting at the evolution to come.
Layer 1: Fiberglass rods | Fiberglass rods will form the humps and bumps of the pupa’s exterior skin. The skeleton will be thin and lightweight, interlaced and anchored to the shipping containers by clamps.
Layer 2: Mesh | A layer of mesh will provide the substrate for Cocoon. On the exterior, a wide chicken wire mesh will smooth the curved skeleton into the desired blob-like form, letting the membrane take center stage. On the interior, the mesh will be a finer weave to act as both substrate and structure, permitting greater control in form both for expression and function. The ingrowths of the pupae support display shelves and rods, contain lighting, and shape a fitting room.
Layer 3: Cocoon | The materiality of the design comes from Viscontea, a lamp designed by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni in 1960. To make the lamps, the designers sprayed a liquid polymer onto a rotating steel rod frame. This liquid polymer was cocoon, a tough waterproofing membrane developed by the military to store ships and supplies. Made up of cobweb like filaments, cocoon would conform to any shape, was flexible and could resist temperature extremes, mechanical stresses, abrasion, chemicals and fire. This project will apply sprayed cocoon for its aesthetic possibilities on a scale befitting its utilitarian use as a roofing membrane.