‘Wooden Foliage’ at Ahmedabad’s Center for Environmental Planning and Technology University (CEPT)

Sanjana Gupta of Saffronart shares a note about a unique art and design project at CEPT

Ahmedabad: A ‘Space Making Wood Wokshop’ at the Design Innovation and Craft Resource Center (DICRC) at CEPT, Ahmedabad, resulted in the addition of a new, unique design feature to the institute’s campus. Jwalant Mahadebwala from Ahmedabad based AndBlack Design Studio and Rooshad Shroff of Mumbai based rooshadSHROFF Architecture and Design were invited by the DICRC to design and manufacture a canopy using leftover wooden pieces from a previous studio course. This sculptural canopy was to be executed in a time frame of 72 hours.

The two artists were instructed to repurpose or incorporate the surplus cylindrical wooden pieces, which had tapering ends, as the form’s primary structural material. According to Mahadebwala, “Each of the wooden cylindrical pieces was heavy and chunky. Our first reaction on seeing 150 of these solid wood members was to deconstruct them. We wanted to make something that contradicts its heaviness and chunkiness. Also, while working with wood we are always attracted to its grains, and that expression was missing in the raw material.” So the designers, along with CEPT students, professors and staff, sliced up the pieces and ended up with 7000 thin wooden discs. They then created the canopy by drilling six holes along the perimeter of each disc, and manually using 26,000 staple pins to stitch these discs together in a sort of wooden cloth.

‘Wooden foliage’ suspended over the SID plaza
Image credit: AndBlack Studio http://andblackstudio.com/architecture/wooden-foliage

“Strings were attached to it and it was finally raised from the ground by a team of more than 20 people. The wooden cloth which once installed became canopy, was simple, discreet and hidden in between the existing trees. We called it, ‘wooden foliage’ as it provided shade just like a tree. It did not stand out, it was no rigid, nor was it bold, it just hung there between the trees, like natural green foliage and discreetly did what it was meant to do; provide shade.”

This canopy is currently suspended between two trees in the main plaza of the School of Interior Design at CEPT. Apart from the innovative design, the canopy also creates a dappled pattern of light on the ground below it mimicking the natural foliage overhead, and additionally provides the plaza with additional shade.

Close up of the wooden discs ‘stitched’ together with staple pins
Image credit: AndBlack Studio http://andblackstudio.com/architecture/wooden-foliage

Learn more about this project.