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Experimental Design

Wei Hsiang Weng and Marius Leqi Pfennigdorff

Wei Hsiang Weng

Wei Hsiang Weng is an artist/designer currently based between Taipei, TW and London, UK. He seeks to develop a meeting point for a variety of organic and synthetic fragmentations, allowing them to interact and self-evolve. Those encounters manifest themselves in new forms of temporality, morphology or scale, in which he envisions a potential coexistence between humans and nature.

After completing a Master of Arts at the Rhode Island School of Design in Environmental Architecture and Media Art, he started his research focused on borders and landscape connectivity while continuing his studies at the Royal College of Art.

Wei Hsiang was awarded first prize in Kaohsiung Arts Award and was one of the artists selected to take part in Reshaping History - China Youth New Art; in addition, he had also been invited to the Asian Art Biennial, Boston CyberArts, and the Avant-Garde Diaries by Mercedes-Benz.

Marius Leqi Pfennigdorff

Marius leqi Pfennigdorff is a German artist and spatial designer, based between London and Frankfurt.

He completed his undergraduate studies in Communication Design at the Academy of Visual Arts in Frankfurt, Germany, where he received his first Diploma. It is at the Royal College of Art, where he finalised his pathway in Information Experience Design through his studies within the Graduate Diploma. Pfennigdorff’s work explores the relation between people, technology and space. Largely concerned with, interventions in civic space and the issues of future landscapes his design of interconnected systems manifest in sculpture, installation and architecture. Outside of his academic studies, Marius has worked at Aston Martins’ Design Lab and interned with Foremost Group in Shanghai in exhibition design.

Investigating the intersection between artificial and natural systems, our practice addresses the way we, as humans, relate and respond to the natural environment and are primarily focused with the concept of man made boundaries as the main field of interrogation. Derived from the development of anthropogenic civilisation, through regulations and laws, the conceptualisation of boundaries have often failed at the level of complex, integrated systems within nature and therefore have subdivided natural environment from human design space. To reconfigure this relationship we have come up with a methodology that establishes a tunnel which functions as a mediator, crossing, linking, and uniting human-divided environments and ultimately merging into a liminal space.

Wind Bridge is an ongoing experiment that was held at two different locations in West Kensington, London between October 2020 - June 2021.

In order to create an environment that is more focused on cohabitation we have come up with a methodology we call tunnelling or bridging. This methodology functions as a mediator, crossing, blurring, and uniting human-divided environments, and creates an experience to re-evaluate our current mindset.

We first chose our homes (Kensington, London) as a starting point for a series of experiments. This resulted in a non permeant tunnel system, made out of bio-plastic sheets, which runs through an entire flat. By giving away part of our property, we have created a paradox that dismantles the clear separation between «inside» and «outside» and transformed part of human design space into a traversal / liminal space for natural migration (used by airborne species). 

Wind Brige challenges the individual who encounters it to think differently about property as a human concept of ownership. After setup, the tunnel becomes an instrument to measure how nature and us including adapt, where we will be able to observe what other nonhuman species we are co-inhabiting our space with and how they use this channel to reconnect and migrate.


Medium:

Bioplastic Sheet, Wood Structure

Whilst rethinking our relationship with the rest of our environment, the concept of Equilibrium emerged, which denotes a state of an ecosystem that is decentralised in its nature by interconnecting all the different participants. The goal of this project is to present actions of individuals that stand at the crossroads between humanity and the environment. The work seeks to blur the human-made and the natural world and question their differences as a whole.

A new perspective might arise from studying biological membranes as mechanisms of exchange and transference. According to landscape architect James Corner, “rather than separating boundaries, borders are dynamic membranes through which interactions and diverse transformations occur. In ecological terms, the edge is always the most lively and rich place because it is where the occupants and forces of one system meet and interact with those from another.“ Corners method of field operations “enables alternative ideas and effects to be played out through conventional filters and provides ways in which borders may be respected and sustained, while potentially productive forces on either side may be brought together into newly created relationships. Thus, we shift from a world of stable geometric boundaries and distinctions to one of multidimensional transference and network effects.“ One aspect of architectural practice is the separation of habitable and inhabitable space, therefore it necessarily has to deal with the notion of connecting and dividing. This partition visualises our relationship with nature through our concept of property. Our home is designed as a unit that is divided from nature. It is designed to withstand natural influences and to protect us from their unpredictability. Architecture offers us a space of predictability. This installation creates a tunnel connecting the «outsides», using built forms as a vehicle for deconstructing and reconstructing our physical and psychological perception of our habitations, beyond sovereignty and property. To rethink our built environment we propose a possibility of coexistence with the non-human by narrowing the boundaries between «inside» and «outside», blurring the barrier between «over here» and «over there».

Medium:

Bioplastic Sheet, Wood Structure
pigeon, magpie | 06:26 am, 12 April | bridge II
pigeon | 07:46 am, 17 April | bridge II
pigeon | 07:51 am, 17 April | bridge II
pigeon | 01:43 pm, 19 April | bridge II
pigeon | 07:28 pm, 23 April | bridge II

After linking two windows, certain conditions changed within its space. Namely the utility of the living space (movement, rearrangement to remain functional), the diversity in atmosphere (fall of temperature, feeling less secure) and the clear boundary between «inside» and «outside»

Despite the fact that it has limited our living space and required us to make certain concessions in terms of comfort, the tunnel has produced a pleasant environment in which to live. The thin sheet altered our psychological awareness of our surroundings while yet making us feel somewhat safe. The tunnel visualises how natural rhythms intertwine and teaches us how to readapt or rebalance our relationship with nature.

During our research process our perspective shifts to non-human architecture and specifically to the concept of ecological corridors. These ecological corridors are designed to reconnect landscapes which are interrupted and blocked by human-built obstacles. Roughly, three types of corridors can generally be distinguished; 

  1. linear corridors: long, uninterrupted strips of vegetation, such as hedges, strips of forest, and the vegetation growing on banks of rivers and streams 
  2. stepping stone corridors: a series of small, non-connected habitats which are used to find shelter, food, or to rest
  3. landscape corridors; these consist of diverse, uninterrupted landscape elements which offer sufficient cover for a safe journey from one core area to another. 

In light of their purpose, core areas and corridors should be free of human exploitation. 

«Wind Bridge at Sinclair Road» seeks to identify the common ground shared between humans and nature and to use the environment to shape a peaceful coexistence and solidarity between the two. 


Speculative Scenario Sketch — While studying human built obstacles and the separated landscape patches we started to play with the idea of a scaled up tunnel network. So we imagined a speculative scenario of a tunnel network installed within a commune.
Wind Bridge Kit — A communication tool to share our experiment experience with the local community. We gave this booklet to people on the streets through which we got into contact with the local charity organization "Friends of Brook Green."
Community Responses — Following the Booklet and the kit, we managed to send out a survey with the help of "Friends of Brook Green" prior to holding some personal interviews. The conversation is still ongoing and we are using the sample audience to gather information about both their behavior/perspective to then expand to the broader public. These are some of the key responses.