A cosmopolitan canopy


For our housewarming party at the White Collar Factory we created a small canopy installation we call ‘Piuma’ ('feather' in Italian).

Inspired by renowned ethnographer Elijah Anderson’s metaphor the “cosmopolitan canopy”, Piuma is a representative of places where diverse cultures come together, share ideas, live and work.

Structurally, we selected an ideal shape surface that counters the White Collar Factory; it weighs just 0.5 kg and is shiny, so it can’t be missed. Piuma was form-found, based on the Chen-Gackstatter minimal surface, to create a structure held by surface tension in the 18 g/m² foil and the spring-back force of a straight 3 mm FRP wire at the edge. These are materials of the future, creating lightweight refugees shelters through to deployable solar collectors for space colonisation. The installation also demonstrates some of the sophisticated tools developed at AKT II to create lightweight long span structures.