The Flying Mast

(insane in the membrane...)

Tulip Umbrella by MDT-tex

MDT-tex had exhibited its beautiful design of the Tulip Umbrella in the Salone del Mobile 2010 in Milan. An impressive installation was held in the scenic inner court of Palazzo Isimbardi as part of the Fuori Salone events.

Tulip Umbrellas by MDT-tex at the Salone del Mobile 2010

The tulip Umbrella is practically an “upside-down” umbrella that opens upward –unlike the traditional umbrellas – and provides shelter from sun and rain.

Tulip Umbrellas by MDT-tex at the Salone del Mobile 2010

Tulip Umbrellas by MDT-tex at the Salone del Mobile 2010

It is a further development of the Converted Umbrella experimented on many occasions by Frei Otto and Bodo Rasch, probably the most notable of which is Rasch’s project for the inner Courtyard of the Prophet’s Holy Mosque in Medinah (1990-92). MDT-tex is the first company that produces and commercializes these convertible umbrellas to the vast market.

Tulip Umbrella (via www.mdt-tex.com)

The design of the Tulip Umbrella allows the rainwater to be collected in the central low-point of the umbrella and be washed-down trough a transparent drainage tube that wraps around the supporting column. It comes with either rectangular frame or circular frame and its opening mechanism is both manual and motorized.

Its beauty lays in its simplicity, coherency and functionality

Tulip Umbrella (via www.mdt-tex.com)

Tulip Umbrella (via www.mdt-tex.com)

MDT-tex is a pioneering German company that designs, builds and sells for more then a decade high-end sunshade systems, membrane constructions and custom-made products worldwide.

The company conducts the entire production process within its fully automated cutting-edge facilities – including the fabrication of the polyester-yarn membranes – in order to guarantee the high quality of its products.

A video from the Salone del Mobile 2010 (in Italian):

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May 19, 2010 - 12:40 PM Comments: Closed

Olympiapark by Günther Behnisch and Frei Otto (1972)

A fascinating documentary about the Munich Olympic stadium designed by Günther Behnisch and Frei Otto and built for the 1972 games.
It illustrates clearly the entire process of the planning and construction of the innovative acrylic glass canopy mounted on stainles steel cable net, that covers the main stadium and big part of the Olympic Village (Olympiapark).

Situated in northenrn Munich, it is regarded as one of the world’s most remarkable stadiums ever built (stands easily the competition with much recent and notable facilities) and an extraordinary civil engineering achievement for its time. Interestingly the form finding and structural analysis of the cable net was done using principally scaled physical models (numerical programmes came in only later).

Worth watching! (it’s not necessary to understand German…)

Part 1

…and part 2

MIMOA

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November 10, 2009 - 8:38 PM Comments: Closed

U2 360° Space Station by STUFISH

(Source: STUFISH)

(Credit: Fran Simó on Flickr)

(Credit: Fran Simó on Flickr)

Architect Mark Fisher designed this stunning colossal stage for U2 360° Tour.

This futuristic set, nicknamed “The Claw”, is the tallest stage ever built for a rock concert, and it took almost three years to realize. Bono christened it the “U2 Space Station”.

Some might notice a slight incongruity between U2’s environmental/humanitarian activity and this extravaganza… but who cares, it looks great.

The elliptical 436,5m² stage was placed in the center of the arena, avoiding the conventional end-stage stadium show, in order to guarantee a better view to anyone in the crowd. This solution leaves the band free to move in any direction and maintain a greater intimacy with the surrounding audience, despite the scale of the show.

(Credit: jas_gd on Flickr)

(Credit: jas_gd on Flickr)

Willie Williams the show director got the inspiration for the supporting structure from the 1961 LAX theme restaurant in L.A. Airport (USA) by architect James Langenheim / Pereira + Luckman, he imagined a similar structure, with the legs spanning clear across the full width of a football field so that both band and audience stood beneath the structure, with the entire production equipment (sound, lights and video screen) hanging above the band. The conventional supporting towers would obstruct sightlines from a large number of seats. The structure is 30m high and spans 57.5m. The tip of the central pylon reaches 51.8m. All together it weights 190 tonnes.

LAX_Theme_Restaurant

LAX theme restaurant in L.A. Airport (1961) by architect James Langenheim / Pereira + Luckman (Source: www.you-are-here.com)

The spectacular giant cone-shaped video screen hanging beneath the structure in the void over the stage was designed with artist and engineer Chuck Hoberman. It is made of LED panels mounted on kinetic scissor mesh surface that expand and contracts changing the image density from 100% solid to almost 50% transparent. The video screen is made of 1,000,000 different pieces and weights 74 tonnes.

U2-360_6

(Credit: Salomao Nunes on Flickr)

The tensile membrane cladding of the structure allows low packing volume and fast assembly and gives the entire project a strong identifiable expressiveness. The form-finding and detailing of the membrane was done by David Dexter Associates.

Three 4.8m diameter inverted umbrellas were placed below the stage and deployed whenever needed to keep the band and equipment dry. These umbrellas were originally invented by Frei Otto in 1971 for a garden exhibition in Germany.

(Credit: Talie on Flickr)

(Credit: Talie on Flickr)

(Credit: Sam Judson on Flickr)

(Credit: Sam Judson on Flickr)

Touring such a massive structure is logistically very complex. Three sets of the metalwork were built so they could travel in parallel between the cities, each one taking four days to build and two days to take down, with one day in the middle for production load-in and one day for the show. Everything else, the video screen, lighting, sound, stage, etc. (176 tonnes) would be toured separately as universal production, to be loaded in during the 36 hours preceding the show. 201 trucks were needed to move the entire production – equipment, steel systems, barricade and generators.

The first show took place at Camp Nou in Barcelona, on 30 June 2009 in front of a crowd of 90,000 people.

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Production Credits:

Show Director/Designer – Willie Williams

Architect – Mark Fisher

Video screen kinetic design – Chuck Hoberman

Structural and membrane engineering – Neil Thomas, Atelier One

Video screen structural engineering – Buro Happold, New York

Membrane form finding – Gavin Sayers, David Dexter

Membrane Fabrication: Architen Landrell Associates

Polyp Mushrooms: Steel Monkey Engineering

Primary Steelwork Fabrication: StageCo

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November 3, 2009 - 12:39 PM Comments: Closed