Elena Manferdini’s installation Merletti is a tribute to the painstaking process of lace making. She has created a suspended canopy consisting of 300 black glossy panels manufactured with CNC technologies. The piece, at the SCI-Arc gallery in Los Angeles, is made with four types of panels – half are die-cut and half are laser cut. The shape of the panels is the result of several mock-ups to study their behaviour under tension. Lace-like perforations are modulated to create variations in the shadows on the ground.
Merletti, which is Italian for lace, is part of the Italian-born architect’s continuing research into the relationship between fashion and architecture. She sees clothing as a source of traditional and innovative techniques, introducing creativity, effect and taste into the mass culture of building standards.
The exhibition also features Manferdini’s fashion designs, which use the same techniques and ideas as her installation. “The ultimate goal for applying digital techniques from architecture to fashion is to introduce customisation during the design phase of mass-produced clothing,” she explains. “CNC technologies are standard as computers open the way for custom-designed items, but only a few companies have introduced identity driven lines. Commercial clothing is till generic. In the long run applying animation and custom scripting tools to the design phase would blur the distinction between couture and ready-to-wear lines.”
Work by Manferdini can also be seen in Skin+Bones, an exhibition exploring parallel practices in fashion and architecture coming to Somerset House, London, at the end of April.
Merletti is on show at SCI-Arc until 11 May.
image Joshua White