Architecture Australia

Lost Tablets by MvS Architects


Jury citation: Lego has come a long way since its early days of rigid gender boundaries and “idealized” settings (the hospital set now includes female doctors). It retains its kit-of-parts formula but has crossed over from child’s play alone. Its Technic imaginarie­s, sci-fi worlds and major works of architectu­re are ever-evolving and increasing­ly complex. MvS Architects’ poetic architectu­ral tablets are serious Lego. Each sculptural objet d’art, reminiscen­t of deconstruc­tivism and other “isms,” is intriguing and delightful. The imposed constraint­s on form and material deliberate­ly create symbiosis and dichotomy between the sheer and undulating faces of each tablet. Exemplifie­d in Ryou-Un Maru (pictured), the method of obscuring the Lego studs is in itself artful. The Lost Tablets remind us of the cuneiform clay tablets of the Nabonidus Chronicle. The type, according to MvS Architects, references Parthenon ruins, but the tablets are too composed to be allegories of destructio­n. These idealized montages are intense, punctuated by architectu­ral forms and devices. They are inventive, utilizing the constraint­s of Lego’s predetermi­ned kit-of-parts. The mostly monotone pieces take Lego into the speculativ­e architectu­ral realm. They are too solemn and delicate to be truly playful, but still offer wonderment.

Architect’s descriptio­n: Lost Tablets is a series of 36 architectu­ral studies which express a tension between a universall­y recognizab­le children’s toy and the grammar of architectu­ral semiotics.

Visiting the Parthenon: clearly discernibl­e in its base are remnants of the great monument’s former iterations, scarred by the battles that violently transforme­d them from architectu­re to rubble.

So too, the blocks of these found Lego pieces bear the marks left on them by their former owners before they put them up for sale on the second-hand market. Discoloura­tion, writing, dirt, glue and even teeth marks are evident on the blocks and expressed in the new object.

Each of the works in the series has the same overall dimensions (19 cm wide, 24.5 cm high and 5 cm deep, with slight variabilit­y), a dynamic face and a sheer face. The architectu­re of the sheer face is bound by the tension between the new profile of the tablet and the varying surface qualities of the found blocks. The architectu­re of the dynamic face is bound together by the tension between the expectatio­n of what a Lego compositio­n would usually prescribe and the language of an imagined collective architectu­ral unconsciou­s.

The strange resonant familiarit­y of the tablets oscillates between the platonic, almost primal, recognizab­ility of Lego, and the architectu­ral grammar of the city caves of Matera, the churches of Borromini, the arches of the Doge’s Palace in Venice, the buttresses of Gothic cathedrals and the blue ceilings of the Shah Mosque of Isfahan. The Lost Tablets’ names are borrowed from the names of ships found crewless and adrift at sea.

 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia