IDEIA.M was invited to create two exclusive lounge areas with 100% natural cork for the yearly event of the Business and Innovation Network, a community gathering people, companies and universities from Portugal, United Kingdom, Brazil, Poland and Chile, among others countries.
Under the motto Converge/Diverge, the aim was to create an enabling space for networking, sharing, meeting, debate, ideas and business. Upon installation, pieces should be used and explored by the public in a natural, effortless and instinctive way.
The installation acts as a central hub to the room, being exposed to passersby and making the best of an otherwise underexplored part of the space.
Designing a main shape with several segments allowed the piece to be easily transportable and to multiply into different configurations around the main module, making its use more versatile and adaptable to different needs.
Networking room @ FEUP
Since the location would allow us to have the piece placed centrally within the hall, we decided early on that the installation would be disposed radially.
This would allow for two things: on the one hand, the piece can be approached and used from any side, and on the other, it allows for people to gather in a circle, with everyone facing each other
These two locations were identified to act as informal lounge spaces during international event BIN@Porto 2016 and to remain in the space for future events.
There were two key issues for the IDEIA.M team to focus on from the very beginning: the material – 100% Natural cork from Amorim Isolamentos – and the locations where the pieces would be installed: the entrance of UPTEC, where, afterwards, our studio is located and FEUP.
Both models were designed by the IDEIA.M team and were machined using the CNC robot milling machine in their own facilities.
A series of iterations progressively narrowed the gap between sculpture and comfortable seating experience.
One segment of each piece was painted in white, creating a striking visual contrast on the piece itself and lending itself to better define directions in discourse, identifying the moderator of a small talk or meeting.
Upon installation, it was a very good feeling to see everybody enjoying these pieces naturally and instinctively.