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Project S'More: Small is More

Now at the M&A Courtyard is New York-based architect Edmund Ming-Yip Kwong’s newest installation, Project S’More: small is more. Constructed around ideas of how architecture facilitates community, Kwong‘s work challenges the waste and individual heroism of contemporary starchitect driven architecture with a largely volunteer built structure. The piece celebrates social connectivity and responsibility through its materials, production, and program.

Project S’More challenges the utility of the non-functional decorative skins that are prevalent in contemporary parametric architecture with a stunning yet economical confederacy of form and function. This eco-friendly, lightweight, convoluted framing strategy is composed of 175 uniquely curved pressure-laminated plywood panels that garner structural integrity through their sinuous contours. The dynamic 14′ tall hexagonal mesh houses a central urban campfire` ring of salvaged tree trunk seats, creating a venue for intimate conversation and storytelling.

The broader architectural applications have the potential to green the building industry. With a traditional solid wood frame building, one and a half times more wood is wasted than is used. The majority of this yield is derived from the production process, in which the lumber is cored from the log. Because plywood is a veneer, unrolled from the log, nine to ten times more usable wood is produced. Thus, there is the possibility of using a material that puts less strain on our natural resources.

Fabricating Project S’More was a unique opportunity to meld traditional and cutting-edge technologies to manufacture something that feels both handmade and computational. Through a series of public workshops at Oliver Hess’ Aperiodic Industries, laymen and professionals continuously refined a series of tools that would allow for the public to participate in cutting, gluing and bolting several hundred different pieces of wood. First, a 10′ laser cutter was created. It worked for months, cutting out all the pieces of wood, operated by a volunteer crew who continued to experiment with and refine the machine over the course of the exhibition's life. Second, an Augmented Reality Jig was created, a series of clamps that could be set to thousands of combinations with the aid of video projection that made sure each piece of wood had the correct shape. Finally, the gluing choreography was developed. With 12 people working together a cycle of production allowed wood freshly off the laser cutter to become a piece ready to be bolted into place in less than an hour. This project is exciting for its many technical innovations but mostly because they were executed as a social activity to research and develop effective ways of working together creatively.

The assembly of the structure worked in concert with the interactive storytelling series Campfire Sessions, curated by Gordon Henderson. With an opening ceremony taking place within a base structure, storytellers from a variety of backgrounds gathered around the fire to cultivate community through sharing ideas and illuminate the overlap between two age-old traditions – building stores and crafting buildings. Construction progressed alongside the series culminating with a completion party.

Open from 10 am – 10 pm daily, and viewable 24/7. For more information on Project S’More and to keep current on future events head over to the recently revamped Materials & Applications website.

Project S’more was made possible by: Los Angeles County Arts CommissionThe Los Angeles Department of Cultural AffairsMetabolic Studiothe Pasadena Art Alliance, and the Warhol Foundation. Special thanks to Potted for the cast concrete fire pit.

Our amazing team of volunteers included: Buse Aktas, Kevin Arthofer, Elizabeth Basile, Susan Benjamin, Rebecca Brotman, David Casey, Patricia Chai, Timothy Chai, Kevin Crooks, Jenna Didier, Dmitry Diment, Adam Florin, Gabo Hernandez-Zepeda, Oliver Hess, Tony Hudgins, Donald Hudson, Paul Hunter, Brian Janeczko, Ghazaleh Khezri, Glen Kinoshita, David Kitz, Michal Ko, Phylicia Leinweber, Stephen Linsley, Alex Linz, Luke McQueeney, Matthew Melnyk,, Edmund Ming Yip Kwong, Jessica Mitchell, Peter Molignano, Kate Moxham, Robbie Nock, Jennifer Partlow, Nicole Rinde, Michael Rubin, Derek Ryder, Gina Saharudin, Sarah Schade, Zach Schoch, Dani Terrasi, Alex Valleau, Nick Vida, Raven Weng, & Victoria Wu.

Earlier Event: February 28
Later Event: June 18
Los Angeles Studio Tours