Taylor Gilbert

Department: Contextual Design

Time Tension Wood

Experiencing time through the manipulation of natural material.

Objects once provided us with a tangible
way to experience time and duration
through material. The process of shaping
materials left marks and traces, and the
materials themselves changed in subtle
ways through use and as they aged.
Modern tools and processes allow us to
manufacture astoundingly durable objects
with unprecedented speed, but we have
lost the awareness of time objects once
gave us.

To find a way to restore time and duration
to objects, this project started with
nature, the most patient craftsman. Nature
creates its own kind of objects using slow,
gradual processes, but these processes
are too unpredictable and uncontrollable
to produce objects useful for us. What is
needed is something between the work
of nature and modern manufacturing—a
way of making that waits on and relies on
nature. One such method comes from the
Indians of North America who curved wood
for bows by applying tension to freshly cut
wood with a twisted cord and a stick.

As the wood dried, it relaxed and gave in to
the tension, slowly bending until the desired
shape was achieved. After the wood
completely dried after several months,
the curve became permanent.

This project uses this technique as the
basis of a system consisting of three basic
elements—freshly cut willow poles, brass
brackets, and ropes with a simple tension
mechanism. The objects made with this
system are the result of the cooperation
between the natural and unpredictable
properties of the wood, the control of the
applied tension, and the time necessary for
the process.


Copyright Design Academy Eindhoven

Copyright: Design Academy Eindhoven
Photographs: Joost Govers