Art Installation, 2012

Collaborators: Hiroshi Jacobs, Amanda Stacy, Charlotte Styer, Jaime Ycaza


STRETCH is an experiment in the reciprocal relationship between material, computation, and fabrication. The form and pattern reflect the designer’s interest in rational processes and how they can become married to sensual and domestic ideals. Using a traditionally rigid material (steel) in conjunction with an elastic fabric, STRETCH expresses the structural construction of form and the mathematics of geometry through the lens of a traditional quilt motif. By combining these ideas in a new kind of material transformation, the designers seek release from the dominant paradigm of planar rationalization and rigidity in recent digital fabrication experiments. The use of elastic materials creates tension between physical and digital, allowing for moments of intrigue.

The design began with a surface-based unit rationalization, much like one might see any number of recent digital fabrication experiments. However, rather than being content to demonstrate a certain prowess of technological command, the designers were counting on the fabrication process to produce unexpected affects. The STRETCH installation represents a unique form of collaboration between technology and hand craft in an integrated differentiation of the design process. The project was designed digitally using computer programming and geometry-based mathematics. After being rationalized into planar geometries, each piece of the surface was cut using CNC machinery. However, the final construction of the surface was completed using traditional sewing machines and good old-fashioned hand-eye coordination. This, combined with the elastic nature of the material, introduced an element of unintended consequence and complexity. The final result is a non-planar approximation of the original digital design, one that responds to the physical constraints and freedoms of the material and its methods of production.

STRETCH was designed and fabricated by students at the Catholic University of America School of Architecture and Planning, under the direction of Hiroshi Jacobs. It was installed for the (e)Merge Art Fair and Art All Night in Washington DC.