HANNAH robotically fabricated architectural-art installation for Coachella 2024

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© James Florio

“Monarchs: A House in Six Parts” is an architectural art installation for Coachella designed by Leslie Lok and Sasa Zivkovic from HANNAH, as well as assistant architecture professors at the Cornel University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP).

“Visiting the site, we were captivated by the vast landscape, the expansive views, the colors, and the valley’s atmosphere, which all ended up informing the design of the installation,” Leslie Lok said. “There is a special magic to the Coachella Valley and the festival itself that can only be experienced in person.”

“The Coachella project, in a way, has bits of different DNA from our body of experimental projects that includes a lot of 3D printing and computationally informed wood assembly systems,” said Sasa Zivkovic, and added, “For us, it’s an amazing opportunity to test some research concepts at a much larger scale.”

© James Florio

The art installation comprises six towers, each with a 3D-printed concrete base supporting a robotically fabricated plywood crown. The towers range from around 10 to 22 meters tall.

The team has also considered the future of the installation; “If possible, it’s important to think about an afterlife for the work that we do, especially for a project at this scale,” explained Zivkovic. They have realized that the Coachella project’s future will be that of a house, one that will require approximately the same amount of construction materials as Monarchs. That’s why they have named it “A House in Six Parts.”

“We had an initial concept in mind for the project and asked ourselves how those ideas can adapt and translate – to new scales, new assemblies and new spatial experiences. At the same time, we ask, how can this project create synergies between art and research?” said Lok, “We are keenly interested in pushing boundaries for both the design and the technical aspects of the project.”

© James Florio

“The idea is that each of the concrete bases is occupiable; they produce moments of shelter or rest and seating. And then the bigger wooden structures produce shading,” Zivkovic added. “The sculpture also operates as a kind of place marker or wayfinder in the vast landscape of the festival itself.”

Their team consists of 10 people who work with two fabrication robots and a computer numerical control (CNC) machine at the Rand Hall Fabrication Shop. The team took inspiration from the colors of the desert sky at sundown, particularly the blues and pinks of the local palette.

“There are these color gradients embedded into the piece that speak a little bit to the kind of atmospheres and light qualities that you would find in the Coachella Valley,” Lok said.

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