Using colourless prismatic materials the interior space is transformed in direct sunlight. Daylight is split into multiple colours with interesting shadows and light-splitting effects. When the sun goes behind a cloud, the colours disappear and the space returns to normal.
This week I am exploring the potential of heat responsive materials and forms. Thermostatic bimetals are exciting materials consisting of two or more metallic layers which have different coefficients of expansion. They respond to changes in temperature, curling in a uniform arc. I have created a simple screen from a series of flat, vertically positioned, bimetal panels.
As the ambient temperature increases, each metal panel curls outwards, creating a beautiful arching form. As they cool they return in unison to their flat vertical profile. Fabulous to imagine such a structure on a large scale – on hot days the screen bends potentially to create a canopy which could be designed to filter the suns rays and provide shade. The shape of the screen will be different depending on environmental conditions, reflecting changes in the weather.
I love the simple beauty of this structure!
Ben Bridgens set me the task of creating bolted structures using a layer of thin veneer and a layer of fibre glass. This is the same combination as explored in previous experiments but this time no glue is used to laminate the two layers together.
In doing this, I learnt an important lesson when working with the veneer – the direction of the grain has a massive impact on responsiveness. In this experiment, despite drenching the panel, no change was recorded. The grain, running vertically, prevented the material to move under moisture.
Compare this to the same experiment but this time with the grain running horizontally…
By varying the number of bolts, the degree of curving and bending of the form can be changed. When dry, the panel will uncurl and return to its flat profile. Interesting results!