Fashion design may seem far removed from architecture, but both disciplines have the human scale at their centers. One intimately wraps the body, the other moderates its passage through the world, but both are occasions for self-expression and vital to survival. The organizers behind Parametrica [Digi Fab School]’s “Architecture in Digital Fashion” workshop are encouraging architecture and design students to apply their skillset in these overlaps, to explore how wearable materials and architectural forms can inform one another.
The workshop has been put on four times so far, with sessions in Iran and Romania. Students are given low- and high-tech settings to experiment with fashion design, eventually aiming to extend computational thinking into the clothing. Guided by instructors well-versed in parametric design, including contributors from Zaha Hadid Architects, the workshop allows students to feel out the materials and methods of parametricism in the familiar territory of clothing.
Elena Paslaru from the Parametrica team answered our Prototyping questions about the workshop.
Describe your background in architecture and teaching.
Parametrica has two main tutors preparing the workshops and event concept and, of course, supervising the participant selection and the workshop development. These are Arian Hakimi Nejad, Architect Assistant ZAHA HADID Architects London and Diana Nitreanu, Architect Laboratorul de Arhitectura Romania. Because the workshops are complex and require different expertise, Parametrica brings together various tutors with various backgrounds. For example, last summer, the Dynamic Fields workshop had five Right now we are at the “form-finding phase”, we are exploring finding various forms which could “geometrically” adapt to body figurestutors and at the end we received the visit of Patrik Schumacher to give feedback to students and tutors alike about the resulted prototypes.
Now, going back to us. Arian Hakimi Nejad is a Persian architect, photographer and painter. He graduated from IaaC – UPC Barcelona. Since 2012, he started collaborating with Laboratorul de Arhitectura and was a main instructor in Parametrica. Currently he is working at Zaha Hadid as an Architect, where he conducts researches in the various fields such as bio-digital architecture and parametric design.
Both Arian and Diana Nitreanu were colleagues in IaaC-UPC Barcelona. Diana is a Romanian architect and painter, born in Bucharest, Romania. She began her professional experience back in 2008, collaborating with several architectural offices. In summer 2010 she completed her professional Master of Architecture at IaaC, in Barcelona, Spain. Returning back to Romania in the summer of 2011, Diana co-founded Laboratorul de Arhitectura and Parametrica [Digi Fab School], where she is conducting parametric design workshops, including digital and low tech fabrication processes. Currently, Diana is working as an architect, continuing her research in parametric/algorithmic design, digital fabrication, and interactive urbanism, while exploring digital tools and theories.
What inspired you to put on the workshop?
We wanted to do a workshop with four objectives. Firstly, we wanted it to be interdisciplinary with other design fields, such as fashion design. Secondly, to be cost effective. This is reason that we used mostly card boards. Another objective was to have a maximum number of results, and we had over four workshops in two different countries and not yet a single repetitive dress! After the third "Architecture in Fashion" in Romania, we had another workshop in Iran. And, the last objective: to be time effective. The whole process was done in 72 hours.
What is the ultimate goal of the workshop?
Right now we are at the “form-finding phase”, we are exploring finding various forms which could “geometrically” adapt to body figures, using generative tools at a basic level to develop primitive design components.
The next stage would be to collaborate with professional fashion designers to get some ideas on utilizing different textiles and encountering maintenance.
Who is the workshop's ideal audience?
The event is open for anybody interested from all the fields of design, but the ideal audience comes from architecture, interior design, furniture design, product design, fashion design, scenography and engineering.
What are some difficulties you've encountered while conducting the workshop?
Time is our biggest challenge here, we have to convey lot of information (software skills, design development process, etc.) within a short period of time — especially at the digital fabrication stage, because we need to test everything five to ten times before the final fabrication.The next stage would be to collaborate with professional fashion designers to get some ideas on utilizing different textiles and encountering maintenance.
How has the workshop changed over time, and what ideas do you have for future workshops?
After almost two years from the first edition of the "Architecture in Fashion" event and a second International workshop (held in Iran), the third edition of this concept-event goes further, and the low-tech fabrication will be digitized and elaborated using specialized software. The first edition is characterized by low-tech fabrication, using paper folding techniques, not needing any parametric software knowledge.
Prototyping profiles architecture and design workshops from around the world, digging into alternative forums for education and experimentation.
For this installment, we featured the "Architecture in Digital Fashion" workshop from Parametrica [Digi Fab School].
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