Chicago Architecture Biennial, Chicago, IL, USA, 2015
Project Team: Jimenez Lai, with Jacob Comerci and Brian Daugherty
CDMX: X Espacio with Octavio Aguliar. Assisted by Steve Martinez
Fabrication made possible by Alfonso Medina of T38 Studio.
Furniture is a very powerful agent in the production of architectural program. Chairs, beds, tables or desks govern our actions, as we perform our daily activities on or around furniture. More than simply providing function, furniture stages the sensations of the interior. They build a backdrop to a cinematic environment. In the interior of the Glass House (1949, Philip Johnson), the position and orientation of the furniture pieces are not only exactly fixed in a tightly choreographed manner, the selection and composition of the pieces were very much a curated effort. It is a drawing that uses furniture to script a story. Moving or rotating a piece of furniture would almost make the architectural plan not the Glass House anymore. This hyper-specificity speaks quite the contrary message to the 1993 text Typical Plan by Rem Koolhaas, where flexibility and its values were being celebrated. Unlike the domestic portrait that the Glass House paints, Typical Plan’s relationship with furniture is that of a large and empty interior, with fluid interchangeability of functions and environments for efficient corporate activities. Furniture Urbanism is a small room stuffed with too many pieces of related and unrelated furniture. In this scenario, there is no flexibility and no specificity, but only navigation and the discovery of action. It is an extremely dense montage with an abundance of adjacencies; a jungle full of functions allows one to compose one’s own stories.