Image © 2016  CHOI+SHINE

THE URCHINS CONCEPT

2017  Marina Bay, Singapore

Design: Jin Choi and Thomas Shine

The Urchins were created in response to a call for art for the 2017 iLight Marina Bay, Singapore, which had the theme for the festival of Biomimicry and sustainability.

 

This project is inspired by sea urchin shells, which are enclosed yet light weight, delicate and open.  Their textured and permeable surface interacting with light creates openness, while the pattern’s mathematical repetition brings visual rhythm and harmony.  Against light, the sea urchin natural form reveals one of the most spectacular patterns found in nature.

 

The project mimics this orderly, repetitive pattern and soft forms, achieving a visual harmony from the contrast between nature and the man-made environment, and between the firmly grounded masculine skyscrapers and the hovering feminine object.

At night, the Urchins make their occupants glow, but during the day they create shadow patterns over the boardwalk offering sheltering shade under the sun.

Image © 2016  CHOI+SHINE

THE URCHIN STRUCTURAL SYSTEM

The Urchin is a hand crochet fabric shell held in tension over an aluminum frame that is suspended from Dyneema cables.  The cables fasten to steel trusses holding the Urchins in place.  Because the structure is light weight, the suspending cables are thin, and barely visible during the day.

 

The crochet fabric shell is constructed of 3mm white double braided polyester chord, illuminated by multiple white spot lights, creating the illusion of an evenly glowing structure.  Each Urchins skin is use about 17.000 meters of polyester cord, with each urchin weighing about 100kg.

 

The Urchins were designed for simple installation, and are composed of 20 segmented panels, which are joined to a series of metal ribs at ground level at the site, and later fastened to a top and bottom ring once suspended.  Once assembled, the Urchins are hoisted to the final display height and secured in place.

PLAN

ELEVATION

1

2

3

ALUMINUM STRUCTURE

CROCHETED SHELL SECURELY FASTENED TO THE ALUMINUM STRUCTURE

TENSILE CROCHETED SHELL OVER RIGID ALUMINUM STRUCTURE

Image © 2016  CHOI+SHINE

This project aims to create a sense of place with an intricate, calm and simple object.  The mysteriously glowing lace Urchins, hovering above the water, contrasting the skyscrapers, create a sense of place that is unique to Singapore.

 

The lace symbolically weaves different people and cultures, while physically, the openings in the surface create patterns of light against the sky, water and city, a juxtaposition of a permeable surface on different visual layers.  

 

Generally, lace is small in scale, and often private. Shown in a large scale in a public place, it creates a sense of surprise and memory of the space.  

 

Lace is used as an embellishment for a special celebration.  The softly glowing, hovering lace Urchins create visual poetry celebrating the cultural diversity of Singapore.

ALUMINUM TOP RING

ALUMINUM RIBS

ALUMINUM BOTTOM RING

CROCHETED FABRIC SHELL

ALUMINUM STRUCTURE

LIGHT WEIGHT DYNEEMA

SUSPENSION CABLES

The design and images of The Urhins  are copyright 2016, Choi+Shine Architects and may not be used without written permission. The Urhins™  is a tradmark of Choi+Shine Architects