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2021: A Steam Odyssey09:53

Soomeen Hahm, Founder of SoomeenHahm Design Ltd, discusses her recent SCI-Arc Gallery exhibition 2021: A Steam Odyssey. The exhibition is conceptualized around the notion that making in AR reinvigorates traditional craftsmanship by augmenting hand and material skills with the precision and formal possibilities of digital modeling—occupying the territory between purely automated, exclusively robotically-driven fabrication and highly crafted processes requiring human labor. The centerpiece of the exhibition, designed in collaboration with Igor Pantic, is a structure built out of steam-bent hardwood using hand tools augmented with the precision of intelligent holographic guides. It explores alternative strategies for the fabrication of digitally designed architectural structures, utilizing cutting-edge, head-mounted devices (HMDs) to holographically assist workers in the manufacturing and assembly of highly varied components using traditional craft techniques. The exhibition piece itself, which is a full-scale section of a larger inhabitable space, represents a next step in the evolution of the SoomeenHahm Design’s ongoing research into complex timber structures, assembled with the assistance of AR. It builds on the methodology developed for the 2019 Tallinn Biennale Steampunk Pavilion (designed by Hahm, Pantic, Gwyllim Jahn, and Cameron Newnham), further expanding it in the realm of fully functional space.

SoomeenHahm Design Ltd is a London-based design studio focusing on design research and practice tackling the issues of computational paradigm in architecture across multiple scales and perspectives. The research looks at the ecology of computational power, technology, and human intuition and the ways in which this collaboration impacts the design industry and physical environment. Approaching the work with a strong interest in research, the practice is trying to bridge between academia and commercial practices. Practical work produced in the studio ranges from small products to large scale architectural and urban design—experts in providing conceptual design solutions. Currently the practice is interested in the use of augmentation (i.e., AR/VR) to execute complex and precise digitally generated forms, while questioning the future role of human, robot, machine, and computer.

Crew Credits:

Creator and Executive Producer - Hernán Díaz Alonso
Producers - Marcelyn Gow/Reza Monahan
Director - Reza Monahan
Director of Photography - Sean Morris
B Camera - Jin Chohan
C Camera - Attilio Bonelli
Sound Engineer - Chris Trueman

Story Producer - Marcelyn Gow
Editors - Claudia Fucigna/Reza Monahan

Additional Images and Video Provided by SoomeenHahm Design

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