Kinetower + exclusive interview with Kinetura

by on 28/ 02/ 2011, under Buildings, Interviews, Technology, Uncategorized

…Kinetura brings flexibility to life….

The Kinetower is Kinetura’s concept for a building whose façade elements responds to the sunlight or for the user inside. Kinetura is design team of Barbara van Biervliet and Xaveer Claerhout established 2006. Meanwhile they both run the architecture office Claerhout-Van Biervliet since 1995. Kinetower is interesting design to promote their concept:
“The Kinetura concept is adding a new dynamic dimension to common static design and architecture. By making use of the flexible characteristics of specific materials combined with motion-based technologies, objects transform in a silent and nearly imperceptible way into a contrasting shape with a completely different functionality and expression.
As if a extra dimension were involved…”

This concept truly shares the philosophy of kinetic architecture. Their current focus is relation of light, time and space. To approach kinetic lighting towards installations and products, as in comparison to kinetic lighting system of Philips, is really amazing and will be covered on KineticArchitecture.Net soon. Their products will be showcased at the Euroluce 2011 12-17 April in Milan, Italy. Recently I had the opportunity to interview with Xaveer Claerhout of Kinetura, which goes as follows…

Exclusive interview with Kinetura:

1. You have been influenced by?
Xaveer Claerhout: “Italian Renaissance, Mozart and Bach, Cubism, Lucio Fontana, Richard Serra and Anish Kapoor.”

2. When did you actually realize that you have an inclination towards architecture?
Xaveer Claerhout:: “Already as a little boy, spatial thinking and being creative were my favourite preoccupations. As a child I was invited in Palais Stoclet (design by architect Josef Hoffmann). I was so overwhelmed by what I saw that it made me realize I wanted to become an architect.”

3. Is there any structure that you’ve been in that you found difficult to leave?
Xaveer Claerhout: “Centre Pompidou Paris (as a child), Villa Rotonda by Andrea Palladio, Roby House in Chicago by Frank Lloyd Wright, Guggenheim New York,…”

4. What are the main determinants in the design process for you?
Xaveer Claerhout: “On the first level : intuition and passion. Secondly : giving specific pragmatic content within a broader general approach and belief in the future of design.”

“…Kinetura tries to respect the ‘form follows function’ approach extended with an extra adaptive dimension….”

5. What made you come up with the concept of the Kinetower?
Xaveer Claerhout:: “In 2004 we designed a first multi-functional transformable furniture piece (a bench/writing table).

Since 2005, we are working on this notion of densification of functionalities by using flexible properties of certain materials to transform the artefacts. We call this process of transformation : Metamorphism. The term is referring to the geological slow change of rock due to changing external pressure and temperature. Of course the term is also referring to the Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

Our research resulted in 2006 in our first prototypes and patent of metamorphic lighting-fixtures. The main concept behind is that light-modulation combined with physical transformation of the fixture creates a new design dimension. A different world of responsive forms appears. Usability become cinematographic. Light and architecture can seamlessly be brought together and can have a new almost organic impact on the users mental state of mind. You can see the transformation of one of our basic-lamps called the “Santiago” (published by TAL) (see movie Santiago lamp). The lamp serves in closed position as orientation light. Once opened the light can illuminate the wall or floor. This basic model just won the IF Product Design Award 2011.

“…We call this process of transformation : Metamorphism…..”

The metamorphic concept was opened up and applied to architecture after successfully presenting the first lamps on the SOFA-exhibition in New York (see movie New York lamp). In 2008, just after submitting our 2nd patent (deformable slat system), we exhibited in Verona where The Kinetower and some metamorphic lamps were showed for the first time to a broad public from all over the world. The response was overwhelming and sometimes even very emotional. Several publications and exhibitions followed the success of this premiere of the new kinetic architecture based on flexibility.

Kinetura tries to respect the ‘form follows function’ approach extended with an extra dynamic dimension. A transformable skin as an energy-regulator. The way this new functional metamorphic architecture responds to its use and the environment is at the same time the ever changing expression of the architecture.

The Kinetower-movie shows how a building comes to life (see extracts of movie Kinetower). Wim Mertens, the Belgian composer who wrote the music for “the belly of an architect” by Peter Greenaway, especially composed the music for the Kinetower (‘the grasp of letting go’) : architecture no longer as frozen music. The metamorphic architecture becomes cinematographic. The architect as a director.

At this moment we are also implementing our concept of metamorphism on other fields such as interior applications. ”

“…architecture no longer as frozen music…”

6. How do the moving panels open and get controlled? And at what speed do they move?
Xaveer Claerhout: “For each application there is a proper transformation-solution to find. Slow and controllable movement is only the lever to metamorphism and never the goal. We don’t want to show movement, transformation is what we seek. The main issue is to have flexible building materials that can be rigidified when needed.”

7.With kinetic architecture, the building services or mechanical systems become extremely complex. How do you manage to deal with this issue in your designs?
Xaveer Claerhout: “Even the smallest cars today are of an extreme high technological complexity, but they gain comfort thanks to that. In architecture the same evolution is irreversible. The technology is there to master this challenging complexity.”

8. So what do you think you are trying to say through your design?
Xaveer Claerhout: “Static design is no longer compatible with the larger communication and transportation tools we have nowadays. The world is unifying by its progressive networks. Kinetic and Metamorphic architecture and design opens a new world of changing forms and ways to use them. This is only a first step to bring real life closer to virtual reality. Cities will reappear in completely new ways. The static city is becoming heritage. The new physical social condensors or the cities of tomorrow will mainly be dissolved and moving.”

“…kinetic architecture is the next step…”

9. What do you think about kinetic architecture?
Xaveer Claerhout: “This millennium is ready to make major transformations happen. Worldwide you can feel and see that kinetic architecture is the next step within a larger evolution where people and societies from all over the world are trying to connect. is proving the case. The potential of the composite and smart materials in combination with actuating devices will revolutionize the appearance and use of design and architecture.”

10. What are your current obsessions and preoccupations?
Xaveer Claerhout: “To realize the conviction we have.

Kinetura is trying to develop, within the large field of fascinating research, the first pragmatic and adaptive products and building applications based on our concept. The research towards a new kinetic design and architecture needs to be pushed by the users conviction and demand for adaptive products and architecture. The concept of sustainability urges to be implemented into a larger kinetic architectural language. The outline and the proliferation of this new concept can reinforce the necessary research, give more focus to cross-disciplinary development, speed up the R&D and lower the prices of the needed materials and components.

“…Smart kinetic and sustainable design no longer as optional and futuristic but as a matter of common sense….”

Smart kinetic and sustainable design no longer as optional and futuristic but as a matter of common sense. ”

11. Any maxim you’d like to leave for our readers?
Xaveer Claerhout: “Bring flexibility to life.”

images courtesy of kinetura

“The movie shows how a building comes to life” auf einer größeren Karte anzeigen



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