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02 Jun 2015

Woodskin cladding that "drapes like a fabric"

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Category: Design

Up-and-coming Italian design firm Wood-skin has developed a geometric cladding system in collaboration with MIT that challenges perceptions of the properties of wood.

The eponymous product is made from a layer of textile, sandwiched between two solid sheets of wood. It is then shaped on a CNC machine to form the three-dimensional diamond shapes. Between these, the wood is milled down to the textile to create the ‘hinge’ that makes it malleable.

Giulio Masotti, co-founder of the Milan-based studio, explains that the sheets are hung and shaped with cables, which then creates a rigid surface.

Recent installations include the a sculptural wall in a Dubai restaurant, and a custom-made system for the Maison Margiela flagship boutique in Milan. Handmade inlays allowed for a delicacy that could be draped. It flows across the floor and up the walls and forms ‘curtains’ around the lift.

The studio is currently working on a project that’ll use the cladding to cover a 2,500sq m ceiling. However, it could be used over a “500 times bigger area,” according to Masotti.

The company is currently launching the product in a variety of materials, including aluminium, steel and marble. It is also working on a version that can be used externally, which will need to be “harder and more durable to receive certification. The metals allow us to make different colours and textures on the surface,” continues Masotti, “Marble is perceived as thick and heavy, but it is amazing how it can lose this weight and be draped like a fabric.”

It is also used for furniture and internal walls and dividers. “We’ve made lots of reception desks,” Masotti told onoffice, “but we’re starting to get contract jobs from hotels.”

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