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    Neil Denari Teams with Bernhard Sommer at MAK

    Matter by Neil Denari and Bernhard Sommer. Photo courtesy of Bernhard Sommer.Matter by Neil Denari and Bernhard Sommer. Photo courtesy of Bernhard Sommer.

    Los Angeles’s stunning MAK Center has, since 1995, hosted dozens of international artists and architects (including luminaries like Ulrike Müller and Florian Hecker) as part of its Residence Program. This spring, Austria-based architect and program alumnus Bernhard Sommer returns for a collaboration with Neil Denari of Neil M. Denari Archtects as part of MAK’s Garage Exchange Vienna—Los Angeles.

    Sommer and Denari explore the possibilities of striation in "Smooth Matter," an exhibit on view from April 19 to August 10. They begin with an initial two-dimensional surface and analyze it using NURBS, eventually generating volumetric matter. At the Garage Top exhibition space, they present a series of flat hanging panels that stand across from their topological counterparts.

    “This is an image of Neil’s surface,” says Sommer, “which is the starting point. ”Image courtesy of NMDA.
    “This is an image of Neil’s surface,” says Sommer, “which is the starting point.” Image courtesy of NMDA.

    “The next big change,” Sommer says, is “in the way we could materialize architecture. So I thought Neil would be the right partner. . .We tried to find a way to translate smooth surface into smooth volume. It’s all about the transition between different curvatures.”

    The architects applied Denari’s concept of NURBS (non-uniform rational basis spline) to flat panels, generating three-dimensional architectural skins which are exhibited across from each other.

    “Geometry could show a much closer, much more precise relationship to the architectural design idea,” explains Sommer. “Even the matter [can] realize that shape. . .We now not only have new design tools available, we can design our tools by scripting for each project anew.” The exhibition hints at what’s in store for future projects.