Since 2012, COS has presented unique and innovative collaborations with artists, designers and architects for Salone del Mobile in Milan. For this year’s edition, the London-based fashion house presented a digitally fabricated architectural installation by French architect Arthur Mamou-Mani and his eponymous studio. It marked a debut collaboration between the brand and the architect, and also the first of its kind installation crafted in bioplastic.
The site-specific installation named Conifera, envisioned as a large-scale tunnel like entryway assembled using numerous 3D printed components made from renewable resources, was an embodiment of the future of design, technology and material innovation. It took the viewer to an ethereal journey, utilising structural form to transport them from the 16th century courtyard of Palazzo Isimbardi to the surrounding garden, bridging the passage between architecture and the natural world.
Digitally designed and fabricated, a series of truncated pyramids shaped Conifera, was created using 700 interlocking modular bio-bricks, 3D printed in a mix of wood and bioplastic. These modules shifted from a wood and bioplastic composite in the courtyard to translucent bioplastic elements in the Palazzo’s garden, coming together to be one of the largest structures to have been conceived and realised using this method. Resembling a light wooden lattice framework, Conifera generated a new generation of architecture, showcasing advances in material innovation, technology and creativity.
Conifera was conceived in response to a brief from COS, and through a parametric design process evolved throughout its conception. The piece vertically integrated design and construction, forming a direct connection from design to build through a dialogue with robotics: the architect is at once a designer and a maker.
“Conifera offered a glimpse of the future, the potential of design and the possibilities which open up through collaboration”, reflected Karin Gustafsson, Creative Director of COS. “The installation has grown from the seed of an idea and has been shaped by Mamou–Mani’s creativity, the expanding horizons of technology and put shared focus on material information and craftsmanship. The final piece brings together so many influences reflective of our values and our focus on pushing the boundaries of design while maintaining a careful balance of the man- made and natural.”
Mamou’s vision was to formulate a piece to echo the circular nature of the compostable material and create a journey from architecture to nature, in order to showcase how renewable materials, coupled with an algorithm approach and distributed 3D printing, can create the building blocks of the future.
This was COS’s eight consecutive installation at the Salone del Mobile.