F-lab partners Ramiro Diaz-Granados and Heather Flood have designed the C-Hub (Central Hub) table for Los Angeles architecture school SCI-Arc, to be unveiled on 25 January.
F-lab is a research-based design practice based at SCI-Arc, and the duo won a faculty-only competition for a new Board of Directors table with “an egalitarian spirit”, to seat 28 people.
“Our initial idea was that a circle was the most egalitarian shape,” says Flood. “But to seat that many people meant the table needed to be 19 foot in diameter. Such a continuous large surface poses some problems, so for it to work on a daily basis we needed to be able to change its overall size.”
F-lab’s solution was to create a fixed central core to house the main computer equipment, with 11 independent outer sections called Chubbies. These sections are mounted on wheels and can be reconfigured within the SCI-Arc Kappe Library to accommodate all the needs of the institute.
“The core is like the central brain,” says Diaz-Granados, “with conduit pieces extending out with power, internet and USB connections for the autonomous Chubbies.”
The practice describes C-Hub as an “infrastructural organism, alive both digitally as well as aesthetically and in form”. The table was made at SCI-Arc by a group of 11 students led by Diaz-Granados and Flood. “We chose to work with plywood, but to elevate its design status by applying high standard digital fabrication methods as well as traditional material construction, giving it weight with unconventional shape and form,” says Flood.
On selecting the winning design, SCI-Arc director Eric Owen Moss said, “I don’t get it and I don’t like it, but that is why I want to see this table built.”
“If you know Eric Moss, that is an underhanded compliment!” say Diaz-Granados and Flood. “He gravitates to things he doesn’t understand and wants to see them materialise. It’s the school’s ethos to explore things that haven’t been done before.”