The lifestyle series:
The lifestyle series takes a look at what’s hot and must sees in London and around the world under five main headings – What, Where, Why, When and Anything Else.
What is it?
The 18th May marked the start of the Engineering Season at the V&A and this auspicious occasion was marked with the unveiling of the new installation, Elytra Filament Pavilion. The pavilion is the outcome of four years of ground-breaking research on the integration of architecture, engineering and biomimicry principles. The project explores how biological fibre systems can be transferred to architecture. The 200m² pavilion structure is inspired by lightweight construction principles found in nature – the fibrous structures of the forewing shells of flying beetles known as elytra.
Where is it?
The Elytra Filament Pavilion can be seen in the John Madejski Garden at the Victoria & Albert Museum until the 6th November 2016 and – best of all – it’s free!
Elytra Filament Pavilion is one of the highlights of the V&A’s first ever Engineering Season, which is curated by Maria Nicanor and Zofia Trafas White of the Museum’s Design, Architecture and Digital department. The season is complemented by the exhibition Engineering the World: Ove Arup and the Philosophy of Total Design, which opens on 18th June, as well as a series of other displays, events and digital initiatives dedicated to global engineering design. The V&A Engineering Season highlights the importance of engineering in our daily lives and considers engineers as the ‘unsung heroes’ of design, who play a vital and creative role in the creation of our built environment.
When should I go there?
Our top tip is to visit the V&A Museum in the morning before the crowds. That way, you can treat yourself to a delicious lunch or afternoon tea after viewing your preferred exhibits!
Elytra’s components have been fabricated by a robot at the University of Stuttgart and assembled on site in the V&A’s John Madejski Garden. The pavilion will grow and change its configuration over the course of the V&A Engineering Season in response to anonymous data on how visitors use and move under the canopy. This, as well as structural data, will be captured by real-time sensors installed in its canopy fibres. Throughout the season the data will be mapped and made available online. On 17th and 18th June and 22nd September, visitors will be able to see the pavilion evolve as new components are fabricated live in the garden by a Kuka robot.
Contributor and photography: Alexandra Pinhorn
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