Lasers, thanks mainly to deranged Bond villains, get a bad rep, but two Birmingham-based architects are using state-of-the-art laser cutting equipment to create an entirely new form of three-dimensional artwork.
From their Digbeth lair, sorry we mean office, Jay Rajpra and Adam Carthy have launched their company 'Space_Play', and a study into five key examples of Birmingham’s Brutalist architecture called BrutalBrum. The project’s purpose is two-fold: To educate and to produce stunning art. "Two of the buildings are being demolished," says Adam. "So there’s an element of paying homage. But we’re also confronting what we think is a misunderstanding of Brutalism. It’s a response to the lack of preservation, if you will."
The finished products are a wonderfully bizarre cross between an architectural model, an architectural drawing and a piece of framed art. The five that you see here, the first to be released by the pair, depict New Street Signal Box (£80), the Central Library (£50), 103 Colmore Row (£100), The Rep (£50) and Centre City Tower (£80), all in elevational form (i.e. square on). The architects-turned-artists, will then launch perspective-style pieces, like this work in progress.
Thirty of each are being made with varying types of wood, cut on their laser cutter and layered by hand to produce the 3D effect. "Different woods, with different shades offer different qualities," explains Jay. "103 Colmore Row [above] is made up predominantly of birch, but we've used the darker timber-ply for the central service core - replicating the plum brickwork used to distinguish between and accentuate the tower forms." The architects - who were made redundant because of the Chinese Stock Market Crash (their previous company received much of its work from China) - are set on not just producing this ingenious new art form, but teaching people about Brutalism.
"When we were made redundant," says Adam "We decided to not just roll into another architectural job. We thought our skills could be applied to something altogether more artistic. But as artistic as this is, it's key to us and to this project that people don’t just appreciate the finished product, but follow our background stories on social media. On Facebook, Instagram and Twitter we explore the significance of these buildings, what the intention of the original designers was and why, ultimately, some of these buildings have failed to survive."
The pair are hopeful that the project evolves into commissioned work either here in Birmingham, or further afield. They've already started building concrete versions of the Signal Box and the Central Library and they're keen to explore other forms of architecture in other cities. They're all on display at both 6/8 Kafe (Temple Row) and Smithsonia.
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