Steampunk (2019)

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Client: Fologram
Architect: Fologram, Soomeen Hahm Design, Igor Pantic
Location: Tallinn, Estonia

Date: 2019-09-01 00:00:00 +0000 UTC
Tags: Public art, timber, sculpture


Steampunk is the winning installation for Tallinn Architecture Biennial 2019 by Fologram, Soomeen Hahm Design and Igor Pantic . It’s aims echo that of the Biennale, that ‘Beauty Matters’ and that the pavilion should embody big ideas in a small structure. The twisting and knotted installation was a hugely complex structure of interwoven steam-bent hardwood and stainless steel connecting brackets. The Designers utilised primitive hand tools augmented with the precision of intelligent holographic guides (a Microsoft Hololens). In their own words ‘The timber elements in the structure are fabricated following the somewhat arcane and notoriously difficult process of steam bending. Each strip is bagged, steamed, and bent over an adaptable, mouldless formwork using a holographic model as a reference to the desired result. This fabrication process utilises two forms of feedback: holographic models provide fabricators with clear visual feedback on the accuracy of the forming process and allow them to intuitively adapt fabrication techniques or formwork positions until parts match digital models within accepted tolerances. Physical parts can also be digitised and fed back into the digital model, allowing the design to accommodate and adapt where necessary. In each case the feedback is a direct collaboration between designer and maker, between expected behaviour and observed results. The beauty of the project lies in this tension, in deciding when to give and take, when to adhere to preconceived design intent and when to abandon precision and begin to react’.

Our role was that of Structural Engineers working in a common Grasshopper script in order to tune the location of the connecting steel brackets to best effect and to minimise the amount of steam bent timber. An installation of this nature can only be delivered by a design team working in close collaboration and with confidence they can prove even the most complex of forms.

All photographs by Peter Bennetts/Cameron Newnham


Architects - Gwyllim Jahn, Cameron Newnham (@fologm), Soomeen Hahm (, Igor Pantic (@sixthofmarch)

Engineering - Format Engineers

Project Team - Sean Guy, Xavier Madden, Nick van den Berg, Hanjun Kim, Aishe Kokoshi, Triin Juhanson, Karim Rouabah, Szymon Padlewski, Thorlak Solberg, Christopher Ferris, Jack Mansfield-Hung, James Morton, Muhammad Ejle, Taivo Lints, Hugo Loydell, Mathilde Grodem, Trine Jarsto, Bodil Eiterstraum, Gerda Levin, Simon Greil, Linn Johansson, Filip Nyborg, Anne Frydenlund, Arissara Reed, Haya Termanini, Mikkel Sorenson, Katrin-Maria Terras, Liis Aleksejeva, Annika Ülejõe, Kertu Jõeste, AnnaLiisa Saavaste, Helena Ojabstein, Lukas Winter, Philippe Hannequart, Tristan Krevald and Tom Morgan.