In the Beginning was the Wood

Although many materials are employed in our work today, wood is still our starting point. This can also be seen in the collaboration with Dresdner artist Birgit Schuh and Professor Haller of the TU Dresden (Technology University) which was initiated by the Dresdner Zentrum der Wissenschaft und Kunst e.V. (the Dresden Centre for Science and Art) in the person of Sabine Zimmermann-Törne.

The limewood used was provided by the Institut für Stahl- und Holzbau (Institute of Steel and Timber Construction) at the TU Dresden. Here, strips with a square cross-section of about 85x85mm were compressed to 60% under high bidirectional pressure and heat. In this form the sections have a much greater bending capability compared to uncompressed wood. This modified property finds application, for example, in the production of stiff and light tubes, so-called formed-wood tubes.

The Dresden artist Birgit Schuh, KUWI prize-winner of 2014, is already familiar with the characteristics of formed-wood. One of her works in this material combination, Topografie Triangulierung (Topography Triangulation) from 2014, can be admired by national and international guests in the Wappen-Galerie (Coat of Arms Gallery) at the Saxon State Chancellery.

Since the beginning of June, Prof. Peer Haller (TU Dresden, Timber Engineering and Construction Design) and Tobias Kandt (Deutsche Werkstätten, Product Development) have been assisting with a new piece of work by the artist. Here, the material properties of the wood and the production possibilities at Deutsche Werkstätten have played a central role. Starting with the idea of an original crystalline form whose individual surfaces were developed in two spatial planes, the concrete development began with questions such as: What size is possible? How thick can the panels be? How will the folding points work?

In the search for solutions, alternatives and options, the object was created digitally by means of 3D software. From the manufacturing of the individual panels, the CNC-controlled cutting and assembling the 3D model, the components spent three months at Deutsche Werkstätten.

The final phase then in Birgit Schuh's studio served solely to further the artistic development of the form by means of marking spray, various cords and boiling hot Indian ink. This treatment gave the object its final and characteristic appearance.

On 14 November 2016, 'Kristall 20, entfaltet' was presented to the public at the Technische Sammlungen Dresden (Dresden Technical Collections) within the framework of the KUWI prize award 2016.

We are of the opinion that the commitment of all parties involved has been very worthwhile in terms of cooperation between art, science and production. This latest piece of work can be viewed in the foyer of the Dresden Technical Collections.

Text: Tobias Kandt

Figure 1: Birgit Schuh
Figures 2-10: Tobias Kandt
Figure 11: Sandra Püschel