PaperCity Magazine

March 2020- Houston

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Page 79 of 131

78 hustle in California." In Oakland, Kudless founded Matsys, a groundbreaking design studio that explores the relationships between architecture, engineering, biology, and computation. He'll continue that work here. Before that, a yearlong Fulbright Fellowship allowed him to research architectural design and urbanism in 1990s Japan, and his work can be found in the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Frac Centre in Orléans, France. Kudless is also the first American tapped by the French design house Louis Vuitton to create a piece for the prestigious Objets Nomades collection of travel-inspired furnishings. His Swell Wave shelf for Vuitton was one of the most buzzed-about debuts at Design Miami in December, and journalists lined up to interview him. "I had 12 interviews every 15 minutes for three or four hours, just shooting out sound bites," he says. "It was exhilarating." From student to teacher. After graduating architecture school, I spent the first three months in Japan riding a bike around Kyoto and taking pictures of interesting buildings and making drawings, then taking trains to Osaka and Kobe, and doing the same. I was going at my own pace, and if I felt like it, I'd make a design. If I wanted a break, I'd go in a temple or a museum, or a bar with friends. After so many years of punishing work at architecture school, it was like I was actually living again. It's influenced how I teach — I try to make architecture classes less punishing for my students and more inspiring. Back to basics. In Japan, apprentice carpenters learn how to make their own tools the first year. They learn why one tool is better over another for a certain use. That made a big impression. I had never learned why one software was better than another, or how to use digital fabrication equipment like robots, so I decided to go back to school to learn tools of the craft the same way a carpenter has to learn tools in Japan. Innovation: A contractor's nightmare. San Antonio River Foundation was forward-thinking and always pushing us for more. At a meeting early in the design process, we were told to create a type of park that celebrates the importance of rain in the Texas landscape. Most of the time the sun will be shining, but when it rains, it really rains, so let's celebrate it. For the pavilion at Confluence Park, I designed funnel-like shapes that draw the water into the center of the pavilion so we can witness the flow. The water gets captured in drains, then flows into underground cisterns that hold hundreds of gallons that are used to flush toilets or filtered for irrigation. I was worried that the pavilion might never get built. It took a year to find a contractor. I had an idea of how the concrete petals would be made using robots to create massive Fiberglas molds, which needed to withstand 40 tons of concrete each. The contractor thought I was crazy, talking about robotic milling and Fiberglas. It's just not how concrete is made traditionally. But the old way of making molds with plywood would have cost the client $20 million. We did it for a little over $2 million. Building in a climate-change era. There is so much to build after a hurricane or flood, and people are waiting months and months and prices are going up, because there is a huge demand and lack of materials and workers. So finding ways to build faster and to withstand storms is one of my goals. Robotics and augmented reality could make construction sites safer and make the work faster and cheaper, because work can be prefabricated in a controlled environment, rain or shine, and delivered on-site and installed. Jet lag never looked so good. Louis Vuitton asked me to design a piece of furniture for Objets Nomades that comments on travel. We all love eating new foods, meeting new people, seeing new art when we travel, but there is also the dark side — the jet lag, the tiredness, the homesickness. When you are traveling, you feel pulled in two different directions, so I designed the hanging Swell Wave shelf to embody that tension. You can clearly see those forces where it feels like the wood is pulled up and down with the thin leather straps. Confluence Park in San Antonio Swell Wave shelf for Louis Vuitton's Objet Nomades collection Strand table and screens for Perrier-Jouët P_Wall at FRAC Centre, France (continued from page 76)

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