Zip-Tie Tek: The Ties that Bind

Pleats Please, Issey Miyake, Berlin - Eloueini typically starts a design with animation software such as Softimage. Once the complex surface is resolved, he imports the drawing into Pepakura, an inexpensive software that flattens the complex surface and numbers the pieces. From there, the drawings are taken into AutoCAD, or a similar program, to complete the data for the CNC (computer numerically controlled) milling machine. The drawings shown here document the 17 polycarbonate panels, each 2 feet by 8 feet, used in the Berlin showroom.

Pleats Please, Issey Miyake, Berlin - Tenant restrictions at the Galeries Lafayette prohibited attaching fixtures to the floor. So, as this assembly drawing shows, the screen was designed to attach to the wall and simply rest on the floor. The polycarbonate surface, once assembled, gives the piece its stability.

Pleats Please, Issey Miyake, Berlin - The wedge-shaped space is a product of the building’s circular form. This floor plan shows clothing racks and a table, in addition to the biomorphic screen and its supporting ribs.

Pleats Please, Issey Miyake, Berlin - After the milling process, individual sections were laid out on the factory floor. For high-end projects such as the Miyake showrooms, Eloueini favors a 12mm-thick panel for its strength and structural rigidity.

Pleats Please, Issey Miyake, Berlin - Structural ribs for the wall and frames for the table and racks were cut from 50-inch-by-100-inch sheets of half-inch aluminum plate. This photograph shows the remains of one aluminum panel after pieces have been cut on an abrasive waterjet cutting machine.

Pleats Please, Issey Miyake, Berlin - To test its accuracy, the full-scale piece was assembled in a Chicago factory before being shipped to Germany. Here, a section of the wall begins to take on its final shape as the zip-ties are threaded and tightened.

Pleats Please, Issey Miyake, Berlin - Eloueini chose to have the interior elements fabricated in Chicago because the schedule was critical and he was familiar with the team there. The piece was mocked up in full scale before being disassembled and shipped flat. The lightweight material and zip-tie fasteners make for a system that is easy to transport and quick to assemble.

Pleats Please, Issey Miyake, Berlin - After final installation, the faceted wall blends reflections from the room and filtered light from behind. The effect is multiplied by the addition of Miyake’s clothes. Zip-ties also attach the polycarbonate to the frame.

California: Stage set for John Jasperse - The 25-foot-long set, suspended from overhead rigging, consisted of a three-dimensional canopy that hovered and dipped over the stage.

California: Stage set for John Jasperse - Eloueini conceived of the set as a surface that morphs, allowing for various interactions with the dancers. Here, the parts simulate kites.

California: Stage set for John Jasperse - This detail drawing of the polycarbonate material shows the result after routing. One surface of the sheet remains intact to act as a hinge.

California: Stage set for John Jasperse - When dismantled, the entire set fit into two 4-foot-by-4-foot boxes that traveled with the dance company.

California: Stage set for John Jasperse - Directions for the stage crew included this diagram showing how the scored and numbered pieces are combined to build the set.

Fashion Show, School of the Art Institute, Chicago - The fleeting use and large amount of material needed for the stage set prompted Eloueini to specify a less expensive polycarbonate.

Fashion Show, School of the Art Institute, Chicago - The fashion show occurred in a beaux-arts ballroom on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue. Eloueini wove the polycarbonate surfaces through an existing colonnade and lit them from behind.

Fashion Show, School of the Art Institute, Chicago - Eloueini used plywood for the structural ribs because it could be cut for a much lower cost on a CNC router, as opposed to the waterjet cutting machine required to cut aluminum.

Nubik, Grand Arts Gallery, Kansas City - At opening night festivities, a crowd gathered beneath the installation, which glowed in blue light.

Nubik, Grand Arts Gallery, Kansas City - At opening night festivities, a crowd gathered beneath the installation, which glowed in blue light.

Nubik, Grand Arts Gallery, Kansas City - Pods were assembled on the gallery floor prior to installation on the ceiling.

Nubik, Grand Arts Gallery, Kansas City - The design for the strands of podlike forms creates a dynamic pattern when flattened.

Mu Chair - This minimalist chair is designed for economy and ease of fabrication and assembly.

Mu Chair - After machining, the panel can be folded, connected with zip-ties, and assembled in minutes.

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