work hard play hard

A European is spending about 86.400 hours of his life at work, which are in pure working hours almost 10 years. Our digital world allows non-located, mobile work which often results in frequently changing jobs. A keyword is »nomadic-office«. The consequence of this trend is that now you are working where you used to have spare time and the nine-to-five job slowly but surely becomes a twenty-four hours job. In my opinion being constantly on the move and having the possibility of working always and everywhere leads to a break-up of the boundaries between work and private life. This structural upheaval and the changing consciousness for the environment have a massive influence on the relationship between humans and their environment. How should a person build respect and awareness to his surrounding, if the place itself is irrelevant for living? Only by identifying with a solid and fixed place a recurring love for the object and furniture is possible and ensures a long-term use.

THE CONCEPT I am convinced that we need a permanent place – in order not to get lost in the lack of boundaries between work and private life. With the thesis »work hard play hard« the following concept should be manifested: Give your workspace the character it needs and create yourself a physical location as a mental anchor point. In general I support the mobility in space and the creativity which results out of change but the idea of self-creation should be related to corporate studios and coworking spaces. At the end of the day it is not mandatory deciding for certain locations but it is important to decide at all. The decision of creating a concrete-trestle was a logical conclusion for me. The trestle represents mobility and flexibility in the space and the concrete is a symbol for constant localization.

THE MATERIAL The material which is going to be used to realize the concept should ensure significance in terms of settling down and placing. Concrete has convincing characteristics as it consists of regional purchasable materials and the mixture can be changed  in its primitive state. The weight and feel of the stone mix embodies the monumental and enduring rootage. The user should be involved in the basic formation of his workplace in order to build up the necessary relation to its environment. Provided modular casting moulds can be filled in place and can be individually modified in color and texture. The binding process of the material supports the social deceleration. Just right  after the required drying time, the user can settle. The creation of such a workspace requires patience, team spirit and „hard work“. However, if you managed – the game can begin. Work hard play hard. I am convinced that such a process will cause a strong relation between people and objects and thus enables the desired identification with the environment and a long lasting relationship between human and object.

THE SHAPE The trestle should be clearly identified as a trestle. That is why elements like the x-shaped legs which are fasten-ed to a t-beam should not miss in the draft. The overall impression of the design seems simple and understandable. Straight from the beginning of the conceptual design process it was important to me not to only put focus on functionality but also on material, symbolism and the well-being of the user. »If we want something that has constancy, we provide beauty not efficiency.« (Nicolás Gómez Dávila)

THE UREOL MOLD The user of the workspace will bring the trestles into form by himself. This places certain requirements to the production process. The mold must be portable and reusable. The process must be accessible to everyone and realizable without any major mechanical complexity. During the experiments I decided for two options: the precise ureol mold and the paper mold. Before the concrete can be poured in the formwork, there has to be done one further step. Polyurethane has to be cast between the negative and the positive mold. This causes a regular surface and the concrete easily can be removed from the molds. The user only has to take care of the casting process of the concrete. To ensure a childlike easiness in terms of assembly a connecting element was created. Simple, wooden pins, fitted with steel threads get pushed through the legs and the t-beam and holds the components together without any additional tools.

THE PAPER MOLD The idea of forming concrete with folded paper, announced itself already during the first experiments. At this time the paper surfaces were still sealed with latex to prevent soaking. This operation, however, should be reduced. In search of suitable materials, I came across conventional packaging material for milk cartons and other groceries. It is polyethylene (PE) coated paperboard. The PE layer avoids the leakage of the form and prevents sticking of the concrete and the paper. The coating guarantees a smooth and regular concrete surface. Since industrial produced PE coated paperboard is only available with a thickness not exceeding 0.6 mm, 3 mm thick grey board serves as an additional coating and reinforcement. The precise laser cutted forms enable a simple and accurate fold of the sheets and the previous applied glued tabs hold the mold together. After the folding the corners get compressed with latex in order to counteract the escape of fluid. Once this is done, the prefabricated aluminum bars can be put into the molds. The bars are sawn off after the binding process. Since the user should be able to easily acquire connection screws at the hardware store, conventional screws were used for the paper casting version. The sawed-off aluminum tubes prevent abrasion of the concrete in the use of conventional bolts.

THE CONCLUSION All the information about the design and manufacturing process the user can find in a book which consists of  sixtyfive pages and is packaged in the same material which is used for the paper casting process. The image on the right shows the whole paper mold ingredients which come in a bag. Every trestle can be individualised by using local concrete and adding color pigments. After casting they need some time to dry. As you can see on the pictures of the prototypes, during this drying process, they still have a raw visual nature. After they have dried completely they become a clean and regular texture. For me these concrete trestles are more like a symbol against our current relationship to our working environment and behaviour. Furthermore I hope this project represents my wish of getting back the relationship and valuation between human and object to guarantee a longlasting usage and thereby reduce the exploitation of materials and resources.