RRROLLING across the meadows of a park are twenty-five 3D printed concrete FOLLIES. The STONES are both smooth and jagge(re)d, each turn reveals new curvature and seating profiles that adapt to different body types and sizes. Leveraging movement architecturally and as FOLLY itself, park visitors discover new seating configurations with each turn. Responding to scales within the public park landscape, the RRROLLING STONES form a long continuous bench object, aggregate into smaller benches, or disperse entirely to form different size seating groups or solitary compositions. The seats are constructed using a large-scale 3D printer at the Cornell Robotic Construction Laboratory (RCL): 3D printing with concrete enables the creation of 25 affordable and self-similar, but ultimately entirely individual seats. No longer bound to the relentless paradigm of standardization, 3D printing opens possibly for design freedom, customization, and individuality. Whether small or large, tall or big, each body type is represented in the concrete profiles. Despite appearances, this is not a cookie-cutter design! While sectional profiles reference archetypes of chairs, seats, and lounge chairs, the layered fabrication process creates a comfortable textured seating surface.
An Innovative Fabrication Method
The RRROLLING STONES seats were fabricated at RCL on aself-built and large-scale open source 3D printer. 3D printing allows for the mass-customization of seating furniture at no additional fabrication cost, increases material efficiency, reduces waste material, and eliminates the need for costly and wasteful formwork. The material used in the 3D printing process is a Portland cement based mortar which is reinforced with nylon fibers, resulting in a strong concrete assembly. In addition, each seat is supported by three steel rebar profiles, embedded within a double concrete layer. During the printing process, the interior of the seats is supported bygravelwhich enables the printing of cantilevers and ruled surfaces. After the seats are excavated from the print bed, surface gravel remains on the print’s interior surfacesresulting incontrasting tectonic manifestations.
An Interactive Folly
Each seat is different: some concrete chair configurations encourage a more upright seating position while others animate lounging and relaxation. Some of the configurations are designed for single users, while others enable a back-to-back double occupancy. If aggregated, the seats allow for a side-by-side double occupancy. Each time the RRRolling Stones are flipped, they reveal new seating profiles and curvatures. This encourages a playful interaction with the furniture and means that users have the freedom to configure seating arrangements based on their individual preferences.Conceptually, the idea of a folly operates two-fold in the RRRolling Stones project. The shapes and forms of the unfamiliar sculptural seating objects constitute the first folly. The second folly unfolds as the user interacts with the concrete seat and becomes part of the project while rolling stones across the park.
RRROLLING STONES is the winner of the 2018 Folly/Function Competition, organized by Socrates Sculpture Park and the Architectural League of New York.