‘Capital Of Mushrooms’_Colour As Highway
Mushrooms have already been proven to be a reliable and versatile material for various design purposes. The experiments with expanding the possibilities of mushroom matter as a building material and also contemplating mushroom as a metaphor for local culture in relation to Lithuanian people as a whole. Developing mushroom matter into a building material designed for a specific site opens the possibility of having an ecological and cheap material that also has a connection to the local people in more than one way.
The origin of the building material might suggest specific character for the site, e.g. in cases like Bath, UK, the stone type is largely associated with the city and vice versa. I propose a material type that can be grown into specific shapes and adapted to the weather conditions of northern countries as well as being grown from local mushrooms, providing prosperity to the local economy, which in turn should help reverse the emigration problem prevalent in the country that is not showing any signs of stopping. A significant and symbolic site was chosen for the trial test of a new building envelope type – a railway station, which has only been adapted to service the European gauge railway this year. The physical connection with Europe in this case might open the floodgates back to the country, encouraging people who had left to consider coming back to enjoy the literal and metaphorical fruits of the homeland.
Who influences you graphically?
I browse quite a lot finding a bunch of new stuff every day but there are several companies and individual designers that I come back to time and time again to refresh my belief on the importance of graphical representation. Space popular, Vylder-Vinck-Taillieu, Elding-Oscarson, mA-style – these are just a handful of companies that I follow obsessively. That is because as a working architect myself I like to see companies trying not only to produce great buildings but also focusing a lot on the graphical side of the job. I guess it’s the technical beauty that is both useful and pretty at the same time that interests me the most.
Also, there is a lot of individual designers like Nick Elias, Karolis Strautniekas, Nhut Nguyen, who are constantly making me feel less than satisfied about my own work. I must also mention David O’Reilly, Gediminas Šiaulys and Andrius Kirvela – all of these guys have made incredible animations that really pushed the limits of the genre of computer generated animation.
What defined the method of representation through which you reticulate the project?
To me what stitches the project together is the color. One dominant color that goes like a highway line from start to finish. Usually the choice is almost impossible, I tend alter the RGB ever so slightly every week when working on the same project until the very last day. With this project, it was different in that the experiment with mushrooms (I was growing mushrooms as a building material for this project ) dictated the color choice and even the texture. So the physical features drove the graphical style and thus linked the whole project into a network of images and diagrams. Interestingly, you can remove a picture from its context and that does not shatter the project, while the picture itself can be perceived as independent object.
How important were the sketches in developing the the proposal?
Well, quite important. Although when using a graphical algorithm editor (Grasshopper),which involves designing with chance and intuition as well as constructive planning, it is very hard to combine its output with traditional sketching. Despite that I tend to work in both mediums: digital and analog. If everything works out then both can meet and enrich one another.
When making illustrations, renders and drawings for this project, I hoped that all of them would fit together in the end and tell the same tale from several different perspectives. Since the project included actual mushroom farming, there was always a physical aspect to it. So the sketches were very important for the project as they could tell the story of what this project is about to become.
What was your work process in terms of project development and production of images?
Usually the project progresses along and the images are produced at the end. For this project I tried to first find the image style that could translate the idea behind the project and then work with it to develop the project itself. It was a twisted process where images tended to influence the development and then were retouched or even scraped because of the changes in the design. It is not that obvious but the hand drawn pictures have made an enormous addition to the site and floor plans since they convey the feeling of the place and translate the emotional aspects. Those pictures also help to focus the narrative and condense the essence that the digital pictures represent. Essentially, the hand drawings are like ingredients, and when played around with, they produce digital collages that are a collection of everything: ideas, feelings and design choices.
How important is the diagram as a tool for communication?
I enjoy a neat diagram and if it tells just a little information about the project itself I like it even more. Diagrams usually tell a story of how something is made or just depict the composition of the piece – either way it tells more than what initially meets the eye. It’s like a tour of the backstage of a theatre: you get to observe the elements that make up the building or an idea. I like to use diagrams to tell a story that involves several chapters and then produce an image that encapsulates it all in one bulk. Generally,without the diagram the picture could be seen as just a picture; it is the diagram that gives it substance