Swiss architect Michael Hansmeyer has created these complex multi-faceted columns for South Korea’s Gwangju Design Biennale, which is curated this year by Ai Weiwei. The Sixth Order consists of four plastic columns measuring 9 feet each, which are made from 2,700 plastic sheets of 1mm thickness, stacked one on top of the other. Each entire column is composed of around 16 million unique facets that were digitally designed according to algorithms.
These four columns are contained within two mirrors, multiplying them in an abstract, chiselled universe with multiple perspectives and no centre or core. No one sheet is identical, indeed, no one column is identical; these columns could be continued ad infinitum and no one would be alike.
With their micro-procision detail, the columns appear to have been carved naturally, as if rock formations that have been worn down over centuries. They have a natural sculpted look which doesn’t seem hand (or computer) made and which exceeds architecture’s symmetry and cohesiveness.
Certainly, their potential to be adapted for architecture is possible, as Hansmeyer explains: ‘When one enters the exhibition space in Gwangju and is surrounded by these columns,one can ideally begin to imagine an architecture that is conceived using such an algorithmic approach. Continuing this trajectory, one next project will be to design and construct a dome – a space that you can enter and that will completely envelope you. The 16 million facets are just the beginning!’
As part of the Gwangju Design Biennale, the project does not propose one final design or product as such, but the process of designing something; the process of design that leads to unique, elaborate structures.