'Figure-Cast-Frame' by Bryan Young probes ruminations on form, type, and material

STIR visits the New York-based practice Young Projects’ most significant works through five unique residences in their monograph, to be launched at Milan Design Week 2022.

by Anmol AhujaPublished on : Jun 03, 2022

An architectural monograph pertaining to a specific firm's work makes a strong case for architectural documentation, and the archival value that documentation holds. The literary and visual compendium also becomes a sort of ready reckoner and the most accessible means to deep dive into and study the style, tropes, musings, and even intent of a studio's works. In the case of the relatively young, New York City-based Young Projects, founded in 2010 by Harvard alumnus Bryan Young, their aptly titled monograph, Figure - Cast - Frame, the ruminations seem rather contained, but end up being much more conclusive on the firm's direction. Without delving into much of the history, the studio and the founder-author pick five of their most significant residential projects between 2015 and 2020 to be representative of the firm’s work and pedagogy. Using a largely visual approach, the monograph comprising over 250 striking photographs documenting drawings, diagrams, visualisations and renderings, mock-ups, prototypes, structures, and interiors, the monograph will be launched at the 60th edition of Milan Design Week this year. 

  • Bryan Young, Founder, Young Projects, and author of Figure-Cast-Frame | Figure-Cast-Frame Monograph | Young Projects | STIRworld
    Bryan Young, Founder, Young Projects, and author of Figure-Cast-Frame Image: Courtesy of Young Projects
  • Cover of the monograph, reflective of the practice’s intriguing and vibrant works | Figure-Cast-Frame Monograph | Young Projects | STIRworld
    Cover of the monograph, reflective of the practice’s intriguing and vibrant works Image: Cover Design by Luke Bulman, Courtesy of Young Projects

STIR takes a deep dive into the monograph through a photo essay - a static visual journey - to the five residences and their individual architectural journeys examined through the monograph.

Retreat House by Young Projects, Dominican Republic | Figure-Cast-Frame Monograph | Young Projects | STIRworld
Retreat House by Young Projects, Dominican Republic Image: Iwan Baan
Aerial view of Casa Las Olas, nestled amid a lush site | Figure-Cast-Frame Monograph | Young Projects | STIRworld
Aerial view of Casa Las Olas, nestled amid a lush site Image: Iwan Baan
The sinuous exterior form is dressed in timber | Figure-Cast-Frame Monograph | Young Projects | STIRworld
The sinuous exterior form is dressed in timber Image: Iwan Baan
The retreat house reveals airy, porous spaces within | Figure-Cast-Frame Monograph | Young Projects | STIRworld
The retreat house reveals airy, porous spaces within Image: Iwan Baan
The spiral concrete staircase becomes a decorative element for the living area | Figure-Cast-Frame Monograph | Young Projects | STIRworld
The spiral concrete staircase becomes a decorative element for the living area Image: Iwan Baan

Exploring discoveries along with designs, the monograph not only provides a peek into the firm’s larger portfolio and thematic, it seeks to become a manifestation of the studio’s belief and interest in 'ambiguity' and 'anomaly' - two properties that the studio seems to have continually harnessed in their works "to create novel and accessible spaces," according to Young. Through each of the five residences - Retreat House, Guest House, Glitch House, Pulled Plaster house, and Six Square House - Young Projects proposes a constant sense of exploration, experimentation, and ruminations across architectural typologies and forms.

Six Square House by Young Projects, Bridgehampton, United States | Figure-Cast-Frame Monograph | Young Projects | STIRworld
Six Square House by Young Projects, Bridgehampton, United States Image: Alan Tansy
Natural light flushes the predominantly white interiors of the house | Figure-Cast-Frame Monograph | Young Projects | STIRworld
Natural light flushes the predominantly white interiors of the house Image: Alan Tansy
Exploration of form and roof profile | Figure-Cast-Frame Monograph | Young Projects | STIRworld
Exploration of form and roof profile Image: Courtesy of Young Projects

Through peculiar interventions in seemingly 'regular' structures, manifested in a colour, a structural fold or stack, an unmissable material play, a visual avenue, a swirling staircase, or even the relative calm of a singular space - each standing out and forming the identity of the place - Young’s works stand out by virtue of an aesthetic treatment well summed up in the monograph’s cover too, designed by Luke Bulman. Abstraction, intrigue, allure, spontaneous and methodical are some terms that come to mind. 

Glitch House by Young Projects, Playa Grande, Dominican Republic | Figure-Cast-Frame Monograph | Young Projects | STIRworld
Glitch House by Young Projects, Playa Grande, Dominican Republic Image: Iwan Baan
The Glitch House’s form exploration through an axonometric profile reveals an interesting two dimensional perspective | Figure-Cast-Frame Monograph | Young Projects | STIRworld
The Glitch House’s form exploration through an axonometric profile reveals an interesting two dimensional perspective Image: Courtesy of Young Projects

To no surprise, a number of photographs in the monograph, and the actual architectural documentation of these projects, are by noted Dutch photographer Iwan Baan. The marriage between Young's work and Baan’s photographs - of somewhat understated perspectives emerging as definitive - is a rather naturalistic one. Each one of the photographs may be encompassing of the entire project, distinctive yet falling in place as a chapter of a larger tale being narrated through the photos.

Pulled Plaster Loft by Young Projects, Tribeca, New York City | Figure-Cast-Frame Monograph | Young Projects | STIRworld
Pulled Plaster Loft by Young Projects, Tribeca, New York City Image: Naho Kubota
The eponymous folds of pulled plaster highlight the residence’s central space | Figure-Cast-Frame Monograph | Young Projects | STIRworld
The eponymous folds of pulled plaster highlight the residence’s central space Image: Naho Kubota

To complement the visual narrative and young's textual one, the book also features a foreword by designer and educator Nader Tehrani, along with contributions from noted practitioners and academics Dana Barnes, Paola Lenti, Sean Canty, Jeannette Kuo, and Hashim Sarkis.

Young Projects’s exploration of a variety of unique methods for design and construction included hand pulling plaster with an irregular knife | Figure-Cast-Frame Monograph | Young Projects | STIRworld
Young Projects’s exploration of a variety of unique methods for design and construction included hand pulling plaster with an irregular knife Image: Alan Tansey
The Elephant Table by Bryan Young, expanding the studio’s portfolio to product design | Figure-Cast-Frame Monograph | Young Projects | STIRworld
The Elephant Table by Bryan Young, expanding the studio’s portfolio to product design Image: Courtesy of Chris Hynes Photography

Merging the three form giving methods in its title to constitute Young Projects' quintessential approach to the projects on display, the monograph can be pre-ordered here. Bryan Young will also be available for a book signing at the STIR press booth at RHO Fiera Milano on June 7.

STIR takes you on a Milanese sojourn! Experience Salone del Mobile and all the design districts - 5vie, Brera, Fuorisalone, Isola, Zona Tortona, and Durini - with us. STIR’s coverage of Milan Design Week 2022, Meanwhile in Milan showcases the best exhibits, moods, studios, events, and folks to look out for. We are also excited to announce our very own STIR press booth at Salone del Mobile - Hall 5/7 S.14, Fiera Milano RHO.

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