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Trifolium by AR-MA

Experimental architecture practice AR-MA combine robots, lasers and Corian in their futuristic iteration of the Fugitive Structures programme at Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation. Text by Nicky Lobo.

Trifolium by AR-MA


April 9th, 2014

The conceptual brief for Fugitive Structures, developed by SCAF Executive Director Gene Sherman in partnership with BVN Donovan Hill, calls for a built structure using the most progressive technology available.


AR-MA, led in this project by one of its Directors Robert Beson, responded with this mini temporary pavilion, made of a robotically formed curved Corian exterior envelope and 152 laser-cut cylindrical black mirror-polished stainless steel interior panels.


Beson explains, “Every single component is unique. Every Corian panel is shaped and curved differently, every structural connection changes size, and every interior panel and pre-cast concrete paver is a one-off.”


The curved form and tessellating pieces of the exterior remind us of another great white engineering feat close to home – the Opera House. BVN Donovan Hill Principal and National Director James Grose has also likened the construction method to Norman Foster’s Sainsbury Centre in the UK. In the interior, the penetrating light plays on mirror-polished black panels that intersect with and reflect each other, creating an intense experience that is softened by the sounds of gravel crunching underfoot.


The custom approach demonstrates Beson’s belief that the detail is a key component in producing a particular experience or effect – the firm wrote the algorithm that calculated the specifications of each Corian piece. “Early on at AR-MA it became very important for us to spend a lot of time learning how computers work so that we would have more control over them and facilitate their use in the design,” he says.


Able to be used as a meeting place, an auditorium or stage for SCAF’s events, Trifolium can be experienced in the Zen Garden at the gallery until October 2014.

Watch below the time lapse video of the installation.

Trifolium, 2014
Commissioned by Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney, 2014
Time lapse video
Photo: Jacob Ring

Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation


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