• An Impression of Order

Over head is a fascinating and quite epic modernist concrete structure.
A giant series of pillars support an impermeable network of straight lines and perfect curves seemingly floating beneath the clear sky, and transmitting a constant white noise.
Meanwhile, the space beneath the junction is a pedestrian access walkway connecting to a canal towpath.
A post-industrial space, preserved for weekend leisure, filled with thriving nature and slowly running water.
In the shade of another century, ducks paddle along oblivious to the motorway workers.

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While being interested in the kissing gate, I researched on Steel Tubing, and came across the chairs of Marcel Breuer. In the following anecdote, he relates how he started to experiment with bent tubular steel while at the Bauhaus and came up with the wassily chair, in 1925:

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“At that time I was rather idealistic. 23 years old. I made friends with a young architect, and I bought my first bicycle. I learned to ride the bicycle and talked to this young fellow and told him that the bicycle seems to be a perfect production because it hasn’t changed in the last thirty years. He said, “Did you ever see how they make those parts? You would be interested because they bend those steel tubes like macaroni.”
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"This somehow remained in my mind, and I started to think about steel tubes which are bent into frames—probably that is the material you could use for an elastic and transparent chair.»

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By juxtaposing handcrafted and machine-made objects, I try to reach a point where the final object is: turn, stay right
itself,
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as well as a tool,
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as well as a representation of the machine that created it.
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In all its contradictions, I work on « objects » which become guidelines of their own tools.
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Each pieces of this series of glass are deconstructing a process. The project stands in relation to older project all under the name
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"How does a machine work?"
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which explore the notion of process as a bridge between hand craft and machine made material.
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  • Spaghetti Junction
  • 01.09.2016
  • 1 pm

Last summer I spent an afternoon under the Gravelly Hill Interchange, a location far better known as Birmingham’s most famous landmark, Spaghetti Junction.


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The Gravelly Hill motorway interchange, constructed in 1969, and inaugurated on the 24 May 1972, made famous and well described by its nickname Spaghetti Junction, is a junction of the M6 motorway where it meets the A38(M) Aston Expressway in the Gravelly Hill area of Birmingham, England.


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At ground level, the place gains a certain aura from the physical and temporal disconnections between what is above and what is under, and what has been more recently constructed and what has remained.


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All along the construction of the concrete interchange, the pillars supporting the flyover were carefully positioned to enable horse-drawn canal boats to continue passing beneath the interchange without fouling their tow ropes. The older social environment was not simply dismissed as a limitation to modernist ambition, an attempt was clearly made here to reconcile old and new transport technology, so that both could happily move along at their own pace together.


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During my walk I noticed bits and pieces of other gates. Some of them dismantled or placed to the side of the path, as if they were from a time that preexisted any human attempts to reconstruct the landscape. The most intact gate, still holding a position in the middle of the path, stopping bikes, runners, walkers and their dogs from charging ahead, was a robust and comforting shape. The type of structure that you would easily sit on without fear. Passing through the gate forced me to see the world around me from different angles. It acted on me as a kind of viewing point, a structure for contemplation.


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The gate was a sculptural metal-tube form, an element made and placed by man as a way to better organize the general use of the natural landscape. It belongs neither to the elevated motorway structure or to the horse-drawn canal boat. It maintains a break with the future, a temporal pause that protects a dedicated walking path and the idea that some things can be done slowly. It encourages you to see and appreciate a landscape far too easily ignored or forgotten.

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Looking back at what is called a Kissing gate : It is a clean constructed element, appropriate to its duty. The use of the Steel Tubing emerge from a mass product best seller of the 1930´s as it uses similar technic and similar approach.

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Following on from the idea that function and design are bound up to become variable for social impact. On one hand, the Kissing gate is a representation of a world of convention and beliefs that as been determined by the institutional fabric of society.
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On the other hand, the chosen design open the limits of possibilities in what it can be.
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I see the Kissing gate as a symbolic bridge for a design practice that always stand in relation to production.
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To conclude on 18 Magazine: The process was a joy to watch:
Wilhelm Wagenfeld gave a talk in 1954 where he urges manufacturers to reflect on products by pursuing a rigorous process of research, just like a research task in a physician ´s or chemist´s laboratory. He presented himself as a “prototype” designer.

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Then, do you consider a non mass produce work a proto-type?

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Or does it belong to a different definition of design?

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How do you relate to non-expert knowledge as a practice?

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