During August many of us will be jetting of on holiday, so we have decided to launch into the month with a look at inspirational international projects.  We begin with three outstanding projects from the Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA).

Chris Bosse, Tobias Wallisser and Alexander Rieck founded LAVA in 2007. It was established as a network with offices in Sydney, Stuttgart and Berlin.  The LAVA team are fascinated by naturally evolving structural systems, such as snowflakes, spider webs and soap bubbles, for new building typologies and structures – the geometries in nature generate both efficiency and beauty. But above all the human is the centre of their investigations, with their designs including everything from master-plans and urban centres, to homes made out of PET bottles, from furniture to hotels, houses and airports of the future.

LAVA is the 2016 Laureate of the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design.

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Eindhoven, The Netherlands: LAVA’s design for the 2016 Philips Lighting Headquarters features an experiential welcome in the atrium and office spaces that foster creativity.  Visitors are greeted by a huge parametrically designed interactive light ‘tree’, a sculpture of light containing 1500 ‘leaves’, panels suspended from the ceiling. Reflective surfaces create a play of light and shadow. The concept is of golden light filtering through trees.

Light was used for information, visualisation, emotion and enabling. LAVA not only showcases the latest lighting technology – the sculpture gives shape and visibility to light. Light is the tool to create a volume of space.  LAVA used intelligent light control to generate different scenarios that activate or relax users – every panel is programmed for the whole calendar year, a bit like an ecosystem, with light effects turning golden, for example, when meetings are in progress.

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Bayreuth, Germany:  The letter ‘Y’ is the shape of a new 180-bed sports youth hostel in Bayreuth, Germany.  LAVA’s design is a yardstick for the sports hostel of the future through innovative spatial configurations, sustainability at environmental, and structural and social levels, and integrated sporting facilities.

LAVA chose the ‘Y’ shape because it generates a connective and beautiful space offering expansive views and multiple openings to the sport fields and gardens.   The designer age means Gen Y travellers want funky design, access to online and community, unique experiences, not just a clean bed and shower.
The central atrium is a hub for offline and online entertainment, interaction and communication. Here a skylight provides natural daylight to a central amphitheatre that connects the different levels, whilst horizontal and diagonal sightlines direct guests to different building functions.  There are flexible room walls with contemporary modular ‘built-in furniture’ elements and rooms, grounds and sports fields are all wheelchair accessible.

Construction started in early 2015 and is due for completion in mid 2017.

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Berlin, Germany:  LAVA’s membrane pavilion showcases a new installation, ‘Inside the Flower’, an experiential medicinal garden by Australian artist Janet Laurence at the International Garden Exposition (IGA) Berlin.

LAVA collaborated with Janet Laurence to materialise her laboratory-like space of discovery, an exhibition of medicinal plants, showcasing the diversity and ambivalence of botany.  Taking Laurence’s concept design LAVA created the sculptural pavilion based on the geometric structure of a medicinal plant, a fabricated cellular environment inspired by plant anatomy.

A transparent mesh membrane made of natural cotton is wrapped around the outside of the pavilion structure. The stainless steel cupola has twelve ribs to support a central ring, with two industrial perspex skylights forming a lens. This inflated translucent water bubble connects with tubes and hanging vials of plant fluids. Five rings of curvy shelves house cellular clusters to display the plants.   Both botanical display and performative space it allows visitors explore the plant world from the inside.

The Pavilion is on display until 15 October 2017.

With such an astounding portfolio of international work we were unable to share all of LAVA’s projects, visit their website here to find out more and to see more images of the Philips Lighting Headquarters, Bayreuth Youth Hostel and ‘Inside the Flower’.

Have your experienced LAVA’s international projects first hand?  Please share your thoughts on these project in the comments section below or on twitter using @DesignInsider1


About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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