Milan Design Week 2017 | Wave/Cave ceramic pavilion by SHoP Architects

Place: Milan, Country: Italy
Architect: SHoP, New York
Manufacturing: NBK Keramik
Text by Riccardo Bianchini
All photos © Inexhibit, 2017

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The Wave/Cave pavilion by SHoP architects in Milan; photo © Inexhibit, 2017

Milan Design Week 2017 |  Wave/Cave ceramic pavilion by SHoP Architects

Installed in the Grand Court at the University of Milan, Wave/Cave is an open pavilion made in ceramics, designed by New York-based SHoP Architects.

Founded in 1996 by Christopher Sharples, William Sharples, Coren Sharples, Gregg Pasquarelli, and Kimberly Holden, SHoP Architects is a multidisciplinary firm spanning a broad range of design fields, from architecture to urban planning, from interior design to temporary pavilions.

In Milan, SHoP created a fascinating structure almost entirely made in ceramics.
The name Wave/Cave alludes to the shape of the pavilion, a construction open up to the sky which Christopher and William Sharples define “more like a piece of sculpture” than a building-like inhabitable structure.

The project plays somewhat with the relationship between materiality and immateriality, which is also the theme of this year’s event by Interni magazine at the Milan University; as well as with the possibility to create a contemporary design by re-interpreting an “historic” material such as terracotta.

Spanning an area of 55 square meters / 590 square feet, the installation is composed of 1670 “tubes” of extruded unglazed terracotta, manufactured by German company NBK Keramik, which create a sort of rocky concretion.
Each block was cut by a CNC machine, thus obtaining 797 different shapes, which have then been connected to one another by steel bars, and arranged on three levels to to form a sculptural object up to 3,6 meters / 11.8 feet high, and weighting 60 tons.

To further enhance the “geological” appearance of the structure, a custom-made lighting system, conceived by PHT Lighting Design, emphasizes the cave-like geometry of the pavilion at night.

SHoP Architects New York

The five founders (on the left) and the team of SHoP Architects: image: SHoP

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View of the Milan University’s Grand Court with the Wave/Cave pavilion; photo © Inexhibit, 2017

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Exterior and interior views of the pavilion, and details of the terracotta blocks; photos © Inexhibit, 2017


2017 Milan Design Week and Furniture Fair

2017 Milan Design Week and Furniture Fair

2017 Milan Design Week and Furniture Fair


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