Underground Distributing Networks of Plastic Tubing Now Programmatic Furniture

May 2, 2011

As art progresses and fashion surges forward, architecture is slowly burning its own path towards futuristic concepts and designs. Projects such as OnSite-00 (os00) that was started in 2002 with a furniture prototype and designers such as Sebastien Wierinck are clearing the road with incredible, green designs.

They are using mass produced, plastic tubing to create programmatic furniture. Originally this tubing was constructed for use as underground distribution networks for water, gas and electricity and now it is being turned into group-sitting areas with installed lighting and electronics.

Sebastien Wierinck's furniture for os00

Some of the great elements about using this plastic tubing are that it is produced in many standard sizes and colors, so no new ones have to be designed, it is strong, flexible and lightweight, and the plastic used in the tubing is made from the waste of the production of plastic bottles. The os00 discusses the qualities that tubing has by stating,

“When combining the use of this particular material with a mainly digital design and production process it makes it easy to produce complex and variable forms of furniture in variable configurations.”

Sebastien Wierinck had an article in TodaysArt 2010 showcasing the installation of his fluid furniture in Hague, Netherlands. The os00 wrote,

“Could we actually give shape to information? When we talk about furniture we talk sometimes about a manufactured prosthesis for the human body, like an extension of our bodies. Perhaps the aim behind the OnSite project is to mix this concept of human prosthesis/furniture object with the concept of digital interface between people and information into a particular space? Who knows?”

Wierinck's design for Berlin

This extension of the human body does appear in the tubing furniture as it exists like artwork known as Tubism. Tubism was first introduced into the art world by French artist Fernard Legár in 1911, emphasizing cylindrical shapes in opposition to the popular avant-garde art movement, Cubism. Cubism is more commonly known today and is typically associated with Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque as its defining leaders. It started in 1907 in Europe and is considered a revolution in the painting and sculpting genres.

This advancement that os00 and Wierinck are now incorporating Tubism in architectural designs is a sign that architecture is slowing catching up to the other fields with use of techniques that have existed in the fine-arts for 100 years.

The products already exist to design in Tubism criteria therefore incorporating them as design elements is the smartest direction to take in sustainable design, not having to re-invent different materials, altogether, that are eco-friendly. The works of os00 and Wierinck are innovative, unique and inspiring.

Wierinck's design for Paris

Resources: Sebastien Wierinck Workshop, On-site-00



Jennifer Shockley

Jennifer is originally from Colorado and has recently moved back from Michigan. She is finishing up her Master’s degree in Architecture. She is currently focusing on urban planning and sustainable design and hopes to gain employment at a design firm specializing in these areas. Jennifer also has writing experience serving as an editor for her school newspaper and college magazine. Jennifer has two cats named Prada and Dior-aptly named after her shoe obsession. You can follow Jennifer on twitter @jenshock81.