2021: A Steam Odyssey (2021)

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Client: Soomeen Hahm & Igor Pantic
Architect: Soomeen Hahm & Igor Pantic
Location: SCI-Arc Gallery, USA

Date: 2021-07-30 00:00:00 +0000 UTC
Tags: Public art, sculpture, timber, steam bending

2021: A Steam Odyssey by SCI-Arc design faculty and robotics researcher Soomeen Hahm, opened on July 30 in the SCI-Arc Gallery. The exhibition will present the ongoing research of SoomeenHahm Design, a London-based design studio helmed by Hahm, into the application of augmented reality technologies and their impact on architectural design and construction. Exhibited work has been designed and developed together with Igor Pantic, a London-based architect and designer.

2021: A Steam Odyssey is conceptualized around the notion that making in AR reinvigorates traditional craftsmanship by augmenting hand and material skills with the precision and formal possibilities of digital modeling—occupying the territory between purely automated, exclusively robotically-driven fabrication and highly crafted processes requiring human labor.

The centerpiece of the exhibition, designed in collaboration with Igor Pantic, is a structure built out of steam-bent hardwood using primitive hand tools augmented with the precision of intelligent holographic guides. It explores alternative strategies for the fabrication of digitally designed architectural structures, utilizing cutting-edgem, head-mounted devices (HMDs) to holographically assist workers in the manufacturing and assembly of highly varied components using traditional craft techniques.

The exhibition piece itself, which is a full-scale section of a larger inhabitable space, represents a next step in the evolution of the SoomeenHamh Design’s ongoing research into complex timber structures, assembled with the assistance of AR. It builds on the methodology developed for the 2019 Tallinn Biennale Steampunk Pavilion (designed by Hahm, Pantic, Gwyllim Jahn, and Cameron Newnham), further expanding it in the realm of fully functional space.

Format provided structural engineering consultancy to the project.

All photos ©Joshua White