After having created a new design facility for Nissan Design America in Detroit plus a revamp of the La Jolla-based studio, LUCE et Studio has now completed their third commission. Though relatively small compared to others, this 5,000-square-foot building has produced an equally impressive result, meeting the highest design and cost-conscious standards of the client. In the process of collaborating with Nissan Design America and their model realization group, LUCE observed firsthand the operation of the highly advanced five-axis milling machine. Together, LUCE and Nissan discussed a simple approach for creating a building to house the mill, independent of the other design functions at the studio. One mandate was that the building ought to hint at the technology within.
Box for a Machine
The machine has anthropomorphic qualities as it busily works to carve form out of clay. It takes upward of 24 hours to sculpt a full-size vehicle. The building should be simple, a backdrop for this amazing process. The budget for making a house for a machine was small. The goals were lofty. The timeline was short. We determined that it would be a relevant exercise to make the building of prefabricated industrial elements, while the shroud could be something ethereal, expressive, and customized (not so different from the chassis/body of a car). Could the machine fabricate its own ‘skin?’ This is how we chose to proceed … quickly.
Read a Book by Its Cover
Automotive designers approach this new building on campus knowing that their ideas will be brought to fruition within a box standing as a creative reminder of the innovative possibilities housed within. Artist Donald Judd, who elevated the utilitarian shape of a box to global cultural prominence, believed that, in fact, boxes could be some of the most complicated objects to render … “after all, they have eight corners!” In this case, the result of a simple exercise at Nissan is an example of an artful expression, cost-effective, time-efficient, extremely functional and yet alluring to those who live with it daily.