Aug 10, 2017
Ways of Wood: Expressing Material Flows is one of the four installations of the Boston Design Biennial 2017 exhibited now at the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Rose Greenway in downtown Boston. This design installation has been designed and fabricated by a team lead by UTL researcher Daniel Ibañez of Margen-Lab.
Resembling images of logs floated from forests to sawmills, Ways of Wood aims to create a link with North American landscapes of industrial extraction. The nine logs gradually transform across their length into contemporary interpretations of these raw natural materials, here shaped via computer numerical control (CNC) milling. Inspired by the social sculpture of Joseph Beuys and the site-specific land art pieces of Andy Goldsworthy, Ways of Wood explicitly visualizes the connection between contemporary design concerns and the processes of material sourcing through its formal and material configuration. Avoiding the association that wood is a generic and uniform material the installation also brings together diverse regional wood species, supporting the specificities and ecological diversity each and one of them entail.
Wood is one of many material flows necessary to sustain urban life. Typically black-boxed and commodified, the material is often detached from any connection to the landscapes, processes, and people fundamental to its genesis. While the project creates a public space for sitting or socializing, it also attempts to create a territorial re-connection between the sites of material circulation and extraction and the experience of the city, and between vernacular material sources and advanced digital design.