A Generous Space
Heidi von Schreiner -- Interior Design, 11/1/2006 12:00:00 AM
Showcasing his interest in giving as well as creating, interiors partner Stephen Apking serves on the board of the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS. Through his involvement, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill has participated in Dining by Design, DIFFA's annual benefit featuring self-contained table-setting installations by notable firms. The effort does more than wow the crowd and support a worthy cause. Apking feels that the event provides a valuable opportunity to try out new techniques. "Whenever we innovate on a new project for a client, we always need to experiment first," he notes. "DIFFA is an excellent testing ground for that."
For the 2005 event in New York, Apking's installation looked like it was carved out of a solid block of white Corian, table and all, and he saw the display as a welcome chance to perfect his computer-assisted sculpting techniques: Elements of the curvilinear geometry first seen at DIFFA were later replicated at a World Trade Center marketing center for Silverstein Properties. His 2006 effort again involved computer modeling—this time to create folded planes in plastic laminate by means of an experimental robotic cutting technology controlled by CAD files. Not only blurring the boundaries between the vertical and the horizontal but also changing dramatically depending on a viewer's location, this angular enclosure managed both to shelter diners and to display them. Coming soon to a building near you.