First, an apology. To every architect who has ever tried to strike up a conversation with me at a party and been sidelined by my rabid interest in their career of choice.
Sweetly bearded and sporting the obligatory black-rimmed glasses, they try in vain to steer the conversation away from their work. To music, to film – I don’t want to hear it. Just tell me more how buildings happen, how the spaces we inhabit from the first breath to our last come into existence.
The thing is, I’m sure it’s not just me. Architects are painted as a separate breed in pop culture from Ayn Rand to How I Met Your Mother, as heroic visionaries shaping the future and rescuing us from the Big Box. No matter that a surplus of bright-eyed graduates serve beers and wait tables in cities around the world – architecture is still seen as a calling, and an exclusive club.
Apparently London designer Fabrice Le Nezet has fallen under the spell too, creating his latest series of sculptures, Measure, inspired by the concepts of tension and compression in architecture.
In his dramatic works of concrete and steel, once symbolic notions of weight, mass and measurement give way to a purposeful making visible of the forces which govern the natural world.
Blurring the boundary between representative space and physical space, constrained by weight and mass, Le Nezet’s works seem to refute gravity.
The tension comes from our own perception of the connecting cords, which contain an uneasy balance of apparent sturdiness and potential movement.
No matter how cold and static we know the sculptures are, and no matter how little we know about architectural theory, it is impossible not to view them as somehow on the verge of shattering movement.