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Flow

Project Year

2015

Client

Clarendon Sixth Form College

Flow is a piece of functional public realm furniture situated as the forefront of Clarendon Sixth Form College. Located as a prominent centrepiece  for the £10 million arts and media college campus in the art of Ashton-Under- Lyne in Manchester this innovation in sculpture serves to not only be a workspace but a meeting point and physical statement of the colleges education mission. 

Lazerian responded to a brief set by the arts centre which was simply- First Impressions count for everything. From this and using inspiration in the form of the relationship between students, the college and the broader sphere of artistic practice, the idea for Flow was formed. 

Flow is the result, a piece of functional, public-realm furniture that takes its inspiration from the purity of human expression. By drawing the line of movement of six dancers, Lazerian’s Liam Hopkins found a set of compact, visual data which could then be encased in a virtual solid skin. Effectively trapping the energy otherwise lost as dancers take their next steps, the 3D form left behind ebbed and flowed, but remained true to the performer’s rhythmic discipline and the physical limits of the human form.

Full scale side view of a wooden reception welcome desk in a large foyer of a college. The desk takes up about half of the floor space.

Flow was developed by drawing the line of movement of six dancers. The process traced the performance and revealed a set of compact, visual data, which could then be clad in a virtual skin, effectively trapping the energy of the dancers that had otherwise been lost. Taking the design to prototyping and fabrication, Lazerian turned away from a cumbersome, literal ‘skinning’ of the form, instead looking at a lightweight, modular approach to creating a physical manifestation of the findings.

These inherent traits not only met a conceptual requirement, to communicate the power of planned and purposeful creative performance, but also a physical need as Flow was developed as a tool for every day human use and interaction. By tracing human movement, ergonomic questions were immediately answered. Moving away from the sanctity of the initial concept, Lazerian considered hi-quality, time-sensitive and cost-effective manufacturing methods and moved away from skinning the entire form, instead looking at a lightweight, modular approach.

 

Close up of a wooden component from a reception desk. Several different pieces of wood starting with the biggest at the back and stepping down in size until the smaller one . This involves 7 steps.
Side view taken as you are lying on the floor of a wooden designed contemporary reception desk. Made with wooden vertical slots that give the impression that the wood is moving with several different curved effects.
Full view of a contemporary designed wooden reception welcome desk from a side view. In the background you can see a distant staircase in a similar style as the desk.
Close up of wooden designed contemporary reception desk made from curved vertical pieces of wood. Side view
In a digital age of global collaboration, it’s an important principle for anyone with a creative spark who wants to fulfill their potential

Liam Hopkins says: “FLOW’s references to movement gave us an undulating form, from which a hi-quality, time-sensitive and cost-effective manufacturing method needed to be developed to become viable. A component-based approach would offer a logistical solution when it came to transport and build, but by separating the design and letting the form flow through hundreds of individual elements, there was also a strong conceptual message for the college’s students of the whole being the sum of its parts. In a digital age of global collaboration, it’s an important principle for anyone with a creative spark who wants to fulfil their potential.”

 

These inherent traits not only met a conceptual requirement, to communicate the power of planned and purposeful creative performance, but also a physical need as Flow was developed as a tool for every day human use and interaction. By tracing human movement, ergonomic questions were immediately answered. Moving away from the sanctity of the initial concept, Lazerian considered hi-quality, time-sensitive and cost-effective manufacturing methods and moved away from skinning the entire form, instead looking at a lightweight, modular approach.

Forming the whole are slices of selected cherry-veneered birch plywood, a material of choice for the Lazerian studio and sympathetic to the interior fit out of the college’s new building, assembled on-site to become an undulating sculptural mass. Representing individual endeavour as a contribution to collective achievement, Flow’s use of 300 component parts also offers breathability and a permeable presence, which can be as inconspicuous as it is inspiring.

 

Close up side view of a contemporary wooden reception welcome desk. Focuses in on the curvy detailing of the vertical panels. Designed to represent dancers in flight.