180 Magazine: Growing to Extremes

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 1.20.44 PMAn unusual project was taken on by Academy of Art University School of Architecture students, under the guidance of instructors Alexandra Neyman and Monica Tiulescu.

The students in the Architectural 609 class- Intermediate Design Studio- collaborated on a project with Fashion School merchandising instructor, Hersha Steinbock‘s FSH 328 Interpreting and Reporting Fashion class. The class “dealt with notions of nomadism and identity,” Neyman and Tiulescu explained. “Our conversations with fashion students and Hersha dealt with a design of a growth system sited on a human body,” including the opportunities provided by prosthetics.

“On both ends- architecture and fashion- we were always interested in the blurring of the normative identity… Our studio started with the human body as a malleable and highly regenerative organism.”

Conceived as part of a larger product based on the concepts of biomimicry, a growing trend which finds inspiration in nature to solve human problems, the work from the courses was shown at the Atelier Gallery on 79 Montgomery and, subsequently, at the Cannery.

A more recent ARH 609 was based on the same concepts involved in an unusual pop-up exhibition at an Oakland medical building. As Tiulescu and Neyman explained it, the students’ work explores two parallel concerns. “The first is research into the philosophical and physical implications of body modification, as it relates to social identity. The second is the development of a building block system that maneuvers like an evolving ecology through adaptation, resulting in emergent behavior. The installation celebrates the grotesque and the authentic and capitalizes on beautiful deformations, the procedure and process of transmutation and the cultural process of extreme adornment to the point of creating multiple identity or indefinable identity,” they add.

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To read the full story and interview from 180 magazine and see all of the photos, download the free iPad app here.


Story by Paul Wilner

Photography by Isabella Bejarano

Styling and art direction by Flore Morton