„We have had enough of architects being treated like stars,“ is how François Roche and Stéphanie Lavaux explain why they do not have any photos taken of themselves. Instead of their faces they show a strange being created from their own faces and those of their team. A hybrid, rather like the name R&Sie(n), that dissolves the identities of the individuals in the group, simultaneously creating a calculated element of confusion.
It all started in Paris in 1989, when, after graduating, François Roche (born in Paris in 1961) and Stéphanie Lavaux (born on the French Pacific island of La Réunion in 1966) set up a joint studio. Partners in both their private and professional lives, they attempted to blur the boundaries of architecture from an early date. Armed with a color photocopier, they alienated buildings, refused to adhere to scale and blended them with the landscape to such an extent that they eventually ended up becoming one with it. Pioneers of hybrid architecture, the computer became their tool of choice as long as 15 years ago – at a time when many of the avant-garde were still messing around with rapidographs instead of immersing themselves in digital worlds.
Asphalt Spot, Tokamashi, Japan, 2003.
Set amid farmland in rural Japan, this small project is a bizarre hybrid of landscape art and infrastructure. It consists of a square, 20-space car park that looks as if it has been struck by an earthquake – its corners have been lifted into the air, its surface ripples and buckles and a great gash has been torn in its black asphalt surface.
Asphalt Spot was completed in 2003 as part of the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2003 – a cultural festival that saw 157 artists and architects from 23 countries produce 224 artworks in the Shinano Basin of Niigata Prefecture. Despite being one of Japan’s main rice-producing regions the area has experienced severe depopulaiton in recent years and the triennal was intended to attract visitors to the region.
Designed by Parisian architects R&Sie, Asphalt Spot was commissioned by the Art Front Gallery in the nearby town of Tokamashi as an exhibition venue with integrated visitor facilities and parking. Yet the architects treated the project as an art installation itself, designing a structure that mimics the bumpy terrain and merges seamlessly with the surrounding landscape.
Beneath one corner of the car park is a 300sq m open sided exhibition hall, which is used as a venue for art exhibitions. The hall is punctuated by a forest of leaning concrete columns that hold up the car park above and which have been covered in canvas sleeves, as has the underside of the ceiling.
R&Sie’s architecture often appears to have emerged from the landscape, consisting of forms that appear to drift or which mutate and clone elements found nearby.
I‘mlostinparis, Pariz, Francuska, 2008.
R&Sie(n) made a project for a new facade for a private laboratory in Paris. They used 1200 hydroponics ferns and 300 glass beakers 'blowing' components for bacterial culture, extra light through refraction and collectingraining for watering plants with individual mechanical drop by drop system including nutritional adding on proportioning controls.
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with thier roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlite, gravel, or mineral wool.
All the collecting glasses were made by a crafty technique, called glassblowing. This is a glassforming technique that involves inflating the molten glass into a bubble, or parison, with the aid of the blowpipe, or blow tube. The transformation of raw materials into glass takes place around 1315 C; the glass emits enough heat to appear almost white hot. The glass is then left to 'fine out' (allowing the bubbles to rise out of the mass), and then the working temperature is reduced in the furnace to around 1100 C. At this stage, the glass appears to be bright orange color.