Louhi Chairs concept was designed by the virtual architecture and design studio, Contingency Plans, led by Kaveh Najafian.
As designers, Contingency Plans have always been fascinated by the omens and prodigies that abound in the concept of “impossible” structures. To that effect, hundreds of utopian/ideological architecture and urbanism proposals have been produced and terms such as visionary or paper architects have been coined.
From “Cénotaphe à Newton” to “Ville Spatiale” and from the 1960 Metabolist plan for Tokyo to “Broadacre City”, the socio-political fight against the trivial has been fought by alluding to the concept of the impossible.
Within art and literature, the concept expands to new realms. The labyrinth that is supposed to infinitely hide and imprison the Minotaur, Borges’s boundless library of Babel, or Escher’s impossible constructions are not just impractical, infeasible, or illogical, but they are also inconceivable to our minds. Here the battleground is defined by the boundaries of real and unreal, and impossible structures are devised as a way of reading and understanding the latter.
According to Kaveh Najafian, AI-assisted art, and architecture, however, have abruptly moved the concept to an uncharted space. Here there are no real or unreal, simply because the intention behind the creation is not clear, or better said, there are no intentions at all, to begin with. There are no references to compare, there are no battlegrounds anymore.
*Louhi is the name of a shapeshifting queen in Finnish mythology.
Every image that is produced by AI at its current stage of development, is like a painting by a super-talented 4-year-old. It is impossible to say if, for example, a table in children’s painting is real or not, not because of poor technique or its lack of accuracy, but simply because most of the time it is not intended to be a table as we understand it, and that is what gives authenticity and sophistication to children’s paintings. In AI art, everything can be everything, everything is possible but all in an impossible world; or at least, this is the most exciting position to put AI in, towards art and architecture.
Produced with the text-to-image AI tool Midjourney, the series of Louhi Chairs is a production of such an approach towards AI-assisted art and design. Impossible forms and materials are “imagined” in unintentional compositions and scales in order to create something very familiar but rather odd and dysfunctional.
Parenthetically, If you are curious to dive deeper into AI, you can check the AI Conceptual Architecture 2.0 – Studio Hassan Ragab by PAACADEMY.