Lattices: The Intersection of Architecture and Art Installation

Lattice ArtIn architecture and construction, lattices are structural parts consisting of wood and/or metal strips that cross and interlock with one another. As a result, this fastening produces a series of square or diamond-shaped spaces between the parts. For functionality, lattices serve as a sort of screen, fence or climbing support. This interlacing in a structure offers design considerations.

One example is the Christ Cathedral in California, USA. The once-largest glass building in the world utilises intricate latticework to create a crystal-shaped effect. This is proof that design and architecture have always had a lot to offer, oftentimes straddling between practicality and art. The latter even prompts the question, ‘Is art installation actually architecture’? — which, of course, has been asked countless times before.

Where Architecture and Art Installation Meet

In citing examples of architecture figuring as an art installation to validate the claim, lattices can serve as a visual metaphor or actual art pieces with lattices that are inherently architectural works. Take, for example, building installer Contour and its pipe boxings. The aluminium and preformed plywood boxings cover interior pipework or lattices. They also serve as aesthetic finishes which hide unsightly rebars or reinforcement steel underneath an installation. Showing or concealing structural latticework is a technique you can compare to erasures in sketches.

Basically, using lattices in creation comes with the intent of the architect or artist. It can serve practical purposes or aim to merit artistry. A private art museum in Beijing, for example, uses latticework in its renovation. You can see how the woven fabric, among a range of latticeworks, draws upon the Buddha’s integration with light, simultaneously obscuring the idol, albeit partially.

Functionality and Aesthetics

Since there are architects seeking to prove that the profession is not a mere technical exercise but a venue for showcasing sculpture and painting, functionality has merged with aesthetics countless times. The latticework found in the Christ Cathedral is a famous evidence of the intersection of art and practical human use.

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