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apparel.lab [The Apparel Laboratory]

Part 2 Project 2013
Rina Kar Yeung Ko
Chinese University of Hong Kong, China
The apparel.lab aims to institute an open interface connecting the general lay public with the local clothing industry as well as nurturing design talents in the fields of tailoring and patternmaking. It is an institute acting as a catalyst to get the public involved in early stages of the design process of pattern making (e.g. textile dyeing).

Hong Kong’s physical infrastructure is renowned for its highly developed network and efficiency. In Central, there is the world-famous elevated walkway network linking the CBD from hill to harbour, and multi-level east-west coastal vehicular highways as monuments to developmentalist modernism which are formidable barriers to pedestrian life and waterfront access. Notwithstanding the area’s advanced traffic connectivity, the project hopes to establish an integrated infrastructure, both functionally and as a social system – providing the architectural and programmatic framework to enhance people’s lives.

The Loom (infrastructure) as a device used to weave fabric (connect people) is studied as a metaphor to generate relevant spatial and programmatic strategies and architectural ideas for projecting onto the site.

Whereas machines typically conceal their operations within a ‘black box’, inaccessible to users, a loom reveals its operations through the detailed movements and coordination between parts. We can only understand its function and purpose through seeing its operation by someone in motion, or better still trying it out ourselves.

Further to mapping/readings of the site, the primary response is a gestural ‘cut’ through the site by means of a circulatory loop, as well as providing ‘fitting linings’ through a sequence of layered walls.

Loop: In contrast to the dense and intense urbanity of Central, the Loop helps to dissolve people’s anonymous routine everyday time frame and “get lost”/re-oriented in the wandering/wondering time of the loom space.
Walls: as turning planes, walls are employed to create spaces for people to linger, inhabit and experience along. Planes with varying openings offer glimpses of inside from outside, and vice versa. It is comparable to a manifestation of psychological states – tension/relaxation, enclosure/openness, control/freedom, direction/wandering - to discover its own (invisible) form.

The apparel.lab contains studios, administrative offices, exhibition gallery, lecture/auditorium, media centre and library as well as cafes and start-up ateliers.

Rina Kar Yeung Ko

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