Second Skin is an installation proposal designed to complement the aesthetic and image of the clothing line of the Lake and Stars. Our initial concept was to develop a space that recalled the way in which the designers see lingerie as something that can be playfully exposed and integrated into everyday wear. We developed surfaces of abstracted “skins” that alternately reveal and conceal spaces with varying levels of privacy. Fittingly, our inspiration for the structure comes from the pissoirs that line the banks of canals in Amsterdam. These structures allow very private acts to take place in public through the design of the structure, which is configured as a spiral made of perforated metal mounted on standards above a drain. The spiral shape and relative opacity of the material allows for private acts to take place without doors, though the body is not completely enclosed. Our other inspiration was the spatial sensibility of moving through one of Richard Serra’s torque ellipses, whose canted, curved surfaces propel the visitor into forward movement and sensorial engagement and create an environment of anticipation and delayed revelation. In our proposal, the “skins” curve and curl to create a ruled surface that forms dressing areas and backdrops for hanging and shelving display as well as the checkout counter. The existing perimeter walls are secondary sites for display and storage.

The elements in our proposal will be produced by both digital fabrication processes and analog construction techniques. The materials represent a range of sensibilities, from the high-tech yet sensual materiality of the skin, which is to be fabricated of translucent silicone sheeting, to the industrial effect of the structure of blackened steel, reclaimed sawcut lumber shelving and exposed fasteners. The silicone skin is to be laser cut to create a pattern of openings derived from abstracted panty silhouettes that range from openings that recall thongs to bikinis to granny pants to provide varying levels of visibility through the surface. These panels will be mechanically fastened to the blackened steel ribs that will be secured at the perimeter walls and at the floor. Ceiling-hung curved closet bars provide space for hanging, and CNC-milled shelves made of reclaimed lumber provide counter surfaces for the horizontal presentation of merchandise and are designed to stabilize the canting surfaces to which they attach. The primary lighting is to be a series of incandescent bulbs hung from the ceiling with red conduit. Vertical fluorescent fixtures will illuminate the area beyond the skin and backlight it to produce a subtle glow.

Design: Barker Freeman Design Office
Text: Alexandra Barker, AIA LEED AP

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