March 1, 2014 / Michael
An Artist and His Craft - Part 1
In a design world centered around constantly changing technology that influences both design and fabrication methods, MNA has the unique opportunity to witness and take part in age-old process of designing and developing hand-carved decorative artisan stonework for a store in Hong Kong.
As part of a recent design project for an Art Deco-inspired Ralph Lauren flagship store in Hong Kong, MNA researched and designed architectural decorative features in limestone for the façade, which required the same traditional methods of design and fabrication used decades ago. The decorative features included carved stone bas reliefs, fluted columns and decorative capitals, all based on botanical and geometric motifs composited from existing NYC landmarks.
The designs were initially documented in CAD elevations and sections. These documents were given to Gregory Muller, a local stone artisan based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to create ¼ scale hand drawn charcoal sketches of the designs. After approval of the sketches, he formed clay mock-ups based on the sketches.
We went through a couple of rounds of review and critique of the mock-ups, and after final approval, rubber molds were created from the mock-ups. These molds, lightweight and flexible, were easily transported to Asia to make plaster copies that will be used as the models for replicating the designs in stone.
Finally, the stone carvers will use a pantograph to transfer carving depths and dimensions from the plaster original to high and low point marks on the block of stone. These point marks form the rough outline for the carving to begin. The actual stone carving has yet to commence, but we will be sure to post some progress photos soon.
With so many architectural design and fabrication methods becoming digitalized and/or mechanized in some way, it is rare to see a true artisan perform his craft the old fashioned way. What a great opportunity we have had to be able to witness and take part in this process. We look forward to seeing the final product!