Taking inspiration from the growth patterns found in nature, Korban/Flaubert create furniture, lighting and large site-specific installations. Their work has been exhibited worldwide – in Australia, Europe, Japan, the US and the UK.
Aerial, a series of sinuous, voluminous forms weaving along a ceiling centreline, was commissioned by Cox Rayner Architects in Brisbane. They asked Korban/ Flaubert to develop a suspended ceiling sculpture for the doctors’ lounge area in a Brisbane healthcare unit.
One of a series of thematically linked projects, it is constructed from electropolished welded stainless steel, has four diaphanous ‘wings’ and is 3.6 metres long.
The rhythmic hoop structure evolves from circular to elliptical geometry and twists its way through space, mimicking spiral patterns of growth occurring in nature.
“Most of our installation work takes the form of abstract sculpture and screen projects,” says Stefanie Flaubert. “We find that site-specific work gives us a valuable perspective on our main focus – furniture and lighting. We try to generate something real and fundamental by understanding basic effects of growth, sequence and volume.”
The precisely sequenced structure generates playful interference patterns and beautiful shadows at night. The fascination of these optical volume effects is emphasised by the electropolished metal.
“We explore mathematics and geometry as a way of understanding the world and the building blocks of life,” says Flaubert. “We also explore growth patterns in nature and their genius at generating complexity with the simplest sequences. This is our way of reaching an understanding of fundamental forms, patterns and visual phenomena. We learn from the world around us.”
In a sense, Korban and Flaubert hope to ignite recognition on a perceptual level. They believe everyone intuitively understands their distilled natural phenomena. “We aim to awaken a kind of involuntary response – a ‘rightness’ or self-evidence of form,” comments Flaubert.
“We are surrounded by built and natural phenomena. The order of natural patterns is imprinted on our perception and we recognise certain patterns involuntarily by extracting the logic of these growth patterns or sequences.”
Aerial was developed in model form and with CAD and then constructed in their workshop using simple timber jigs and a lot of welding. “We use old-school methods. We are very hands on.”
The team also treats the design process as a journey of discovery.
“Our workshop operates as a laboratory for form, with modelling and experimental materials, research and prototyping central to the methodological process,” says Flaubert. “It’s a test lab to generate forms and evolve technical resolution.”
“We are constantly surprised by the diversity of natural structures as well as their connectedness. When we work in a loose fashion, forms evolve into other structures before our eyes.”