SALIX REGIONALIS 3D
ABOUT SALIX REGIONALIS 3D
Conceived by Steffi Silbermann, the SALIX REGIONALIS 3D project involves a combination of elements from traditional basketweaving, textile technology, and molded-wood technology. Building on the familiar principles of plaiting and weaving, we develop woven lattices that share the characteristics of conventional wood products. Layered as flat surfaces and molded into load-bearing three-dimensional components, SALIX REGIONALIS 3D combines the flexibility and tensile strength of textiles with the structural stability and compressive strength of molded wood. The woven structure of the surfaces enables us to manufacture components that are substantially more material-efficient than traditional solid-construction molded wood, leading to welcome reductions in weight. When used in transportation applications, for example, these savings add up to enormous economies, which in turn reduce fuel consumption. In visible applications, SALIX REGIONALIS 3D’s mix of traditional material, distinctive weave, and CAD simulation brings a novel formal vocabulary to the worlds of molded-wood technology and wicker consumer goods.
Inspired by the centuries-old tradition of basketweaving, SALIX REGIONALIS 3D is an investigation of willow in the form of withes (split and whole) and strips. Willow possesses exceptional qualities of tensility and flexibility. A fast-growing, coarse-grained wood, it is quite light, even in large quantities, which gives SALIX REGIONALIS 3D the characteristics of a lightweight, stable, individually moldable, customizable wood-based construction material. The use of willow also creates interesting incentives for agriculture and forestry. The technologization of the landscape that surrounds us has gone largely unnoticed. What appears to be nature is in fact a carefully measured and controlled landscape system designed for the cultivation of a wide variety of plants. Because willow grows in poor, wet soils, it requires less intervention in the landscape. As an alternative to the cost and effort of fertilizing poor soils or improving flood-prone, naturally wet bottomlands, the cultivation of willow in such areas offers a way to preserve the balance of nature.
The SALIX REGIONALIS 3D lattice does not function as a covering the way textiles do. Its woven structure is a minimalistic representation of the physical forces at work on a structural element – an interface, so to speak, between user, material, and gravity, giving tangible form to physics. An optimized CAD modeling process is used to precisely analyze the relationships between the application-specific three-dimensional form of a SALIX REGIONALIS 3D component and the original two-dimensional lattice, resulting in a lightweight, extremely material-efficient wood-based module that is precisely calibrated to the demands placed on it and characterized by fluid forms.