February 16, 2006

3D volumetric polyurethane element for interiors

OMA developed Foam as part of their work for Prada. In addition to the design of new spatial typologies, the development of new materials expands the interior palette of the new Prada epicenter stores. Ranging from translucent cast resin for shelves to bubble-textured silicone floor mats, the creation of a new substance called Foam manifests a radical redefinition of surface and material. Foam is a polyurethane cast of an aggregate condition between solid and void. It is both a regular and irregular structure of sponge-like consistency that can be cast in stages from hard to soft, and from transparent to opaque. It forms a substance which can be used to build objects as well as entire spaces, a further interpretation of solid and void. Foam was developed beginning with an architectural model using a regular cleaning sponge. Because the visual effect of this backlit texture was very intriguing, OMA initiated an extensive search to recreate this material in 1:1 scale. The architect made hundreds of prototypes in order to test hole sizes, percentages of openness, translucencies, depths, colors, etc. In its multiple and varied manifestations, Foam offers a new definition of functional and visual properties between artificial and natural, irregular and regular, transparent and opaque, translucent and solid, flexible and rigid qualities in the design of interior environments.

Contact: Office for Metropolitan Architecture, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

For more information, see Transmaterial: A Catalog of Materials That Redefine our Physical Environment

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