Tape Installation, Vienna courtesy of Numen / For Use.
“The empire is being crushed by its own weight,” Kublai thinks, and in his dreams now cities light as kites appear, pierced cities like laces, cities transparent as mosquito netting, cities like leaves’ veins, cities lined like a hand’s palm, filigree cities to be seen through their opaque and fictitious thickness.
-Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
The combination of increased resource cost and uncertainty about the future has inspired some architects to rethink the notion of enduring, ponderous structures. The Vienna and Croatian firm Numen / For Use engages the idea of an architecture of lightness, creating novel spatial experiences using an unexpected material—packing tape.
The firm’s recent installation within a former Viennese stock exchange mimics a giant intersecting cocoon that conveys an otherworldly lightness. Comprised by nearly 100 pounds and 117,000 linear feet of tape, the temporary installation may not be the most ecologically minded use of a non-recyclable material; however, the search for an ultralight architecture demonstrates that limited resources may be harnessed to profound effect.