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COS & Mamou-Mani collaborate to create a 3D printed bioplastic structure

London’s fashion house COS collaborated with French architect Arthur Mamou-Mani to develop an installation made of 3D printed bioplastic blocks at the Milan Design Week.

by Palak Maheshwari Jul 18, 2019

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.

  • An entrance to the courtyard through <em>Conifera</em>| COS| Mamou Mani| Conifera| Salone del Mobile| STIR
    An entrance to the courtyard through Conifera Image Credit: Courtesy of COS
  • A parametric latticework made of wood and bioplastic| COS| Mamou Mani| Conifera| Salone del Mobile| STIR
    A parametric latticework made of wood and bioplastic Image Credit: Courtesy of COS
  • A top view of the structure| COS| Mamou Mani| Conifera| Salone del Mobile| STIR
    A top view of the structure Image Credit: Courtesy of COS

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.

  • WASP 3D printer was used to build COS installation| COS| Mamou Mani| Conifera| Salone del Mobile| STIR
    WASP 3D printer was used to build COS installation Image Credit: Mrinalini Ghadiok
  • Miniatures of the installation| COS| Mamou Mani| Conifera| Salone del Mobile| STIR
    Miniatures of the installation Image Credit: Mrinalini Ghadiok
  • Visitors at the exhibition clicking photographs of the installation| COS| Mamou Mani| Conifera| Salone del Mobile| STIR
    Visitors at the exhibition clicking photographs of the installation Image Credit: Mrinalini Ghadiok
  • The structure was assembled using 700 bioplastic bricks| COS| Mamou Mani| Conifera| Salone del Mobile| STIR
    The structure was assembled using 700 bioplastic bricks Image Credit: Mrinalini Ghadiok
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    A close-up of one of the truncated shaped pyramids| COS| Mamou Mani| Conifera| Salone del Mobile| STIR
    A close-up of one of the truncated shaped pyramids Image Credit: Mrinalini Ghadiok

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. 

  • The architect’s vision created a journey from architecture to nature with this installation| COS| Mamou Mani| Conifera| Salone del Mobile| STIR
    The architect’s vision created a journey from architecture to nature with this installation Image Credit: Courtesy of COS
  • The large scale parametric structure made up of modular bio bricks| COS| Mamou Mani| Conifera| Salone del Mobile| STIR
    The large scale parametric structure made up of modular bio bricks Image Credit: Courtesy of COS
  • The courtyard view at Palazzo Isimbardi | COS| Mamou Mani| Conifera| Salone del Mobile| STIR
    The courtyard view at Palazzo Isimbardi Image Credit: Courtesy of COS
  • <em>Conifera</em> by COS| COS| Mamou Mani| Conifera| Salone del Mobile| STIR
    Conifera by COS Image Credit: Courtesy of COS
  • <em>Conifera</em> by COS | COS| Mamou Mani| Conifera| Salone del Mobile| STIR
    Conifera by COS Image Credit: Courtesy of COS
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    <em>Conifera</em> by COS | COS| Mamou Mani| Conifera| Salone del Mobile| STIR
    Conifera by COS Image Credit: Courtesy of COS

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About Author

Palak Maheshwari

Palak Maheshwari

As standing on the first step of structuring herself, Palak seeks avenues that can serve as an outlet for her creative energies. A commerce graduate and an avid reader, she has been working as an intern for STIR. Her ‘outside’ approach towards architecture and design reflects as a fresh perspective in her work.

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