Inspired by the way silkworms weave delicate cocoons from a single strand of silk, the Silk Pavilion is created using a base of robot-woven threads. Created by The Mediated Matter group, focused on biologically inspired design fabrication tools and technologies, the pavilion explores the relationship between digital and biological fabrication on both architectural and product scales. The primary structure of this unique and fragile pavilion was created of 26 polygonal panels, made of silk treads laid down by a CNC machine.
The research of the Mediated Matter group aims to integrate computational form-finding strategies with biologically inspired fabrication and the pavilion is the outcome of a process. They strongly believe in the importance of this research, therefore enabling mediating synergies between objects and environment, between humans and objects, and between humans and environment, which would enhance the relation between natural and artificial environments by ensuring higher levels of versatility and customization, material efficiency and environmental performance integration.
The geometry of the pavilion is created using an algorithm assigning a single continuous thread across patches, therefore providing various degrees of density. The overall density was further informed by the silkworm itself, as a biological printer creating the secondary structure. A swarm of 6,500 silkworms was positioned at the bottom rim of the scaffold spinning flat non-woven silk patches, locally reinforcing the gaps across CNC-deposited silk fibers. The migration of silkworms was directed by light conditions due to spatial and environmental conditions, including geometrical density and variation in natural light and heat.
The exploration of the formation of non-woven fiber structures generated by the silkworms was used as a computational schema for determining shape and material optimization of fiber-based surface structures. The aim of the designers and researchers is to establish new forms of design and new process of material practice, at the very intersection of computer science, material engineering, design and ecology.