for milan design week, new york studio diller scofidio + renfro has constructed a tensile canopy made out of 300 pairs of denim jeans. named ‘off the cuff’, the installation continues DS+R’s interest in ready-made models and experimental fabrication techniques. while the individual pairs of pants allude to the human scale in relation to the built environment, the meshed and twisted structure has been designed to evoke a sense of community and collective architecture.

diller scofidio renfro off the cuff
the canopy is made out of 300 pairs of denim jeans
image © rui teixeira (main image © designboom)

 

 

taking place in milan’s 5VIE design district, the fuorisalone event is presented within the courtyard of palazzo litta — a baroque building that dates back to 1761. the familiar use of denim, an everyman material, relates to the partially public nature of italian palazzo courtyards. ‘having two legs and one waist, they [the jeans] have an implicit structural logic. we started to see that we could combine these units, connecting their end points to construct a net-like tensile structure,’ explains liz diller of DS+R.

diller scofidio renfro off the cuff
the installation continues DS+R’s interest in ready-made models
image © rui teixeira

 

 

viewing the individuals pairs of jeans as ready-made components, the project — described as ‘contemporary folly’ — reinterprets the garments as an architectural module. by connecting the jeans waist-to-waist and cuff-to-cuff, a tensile catenary grid is created, spanning the courtyard. the net seeks to give the impression of ‘a body imprinted in space’, but also a body ‘defamiliarized by repetition’.

diller scofidio renfro off the cuff
the work occupies the courtyard of palazzo litta
image © rui teixeira

 

 

the only programmatic piece was that it had to be a roof of some sort — a little bit of protection,’ continued diller at the installation’s opening. ‘we have been screwing around with building materials and structural ideas for a long time, and, a while ago, we imagined using this very familiar unit of human scale in compression — but we never executed it. we thought maybe we can use this unit in tension and put it together in a more abstract way. it kind of jumps of off our duchampian starting point of starting with everyday objects and translating them to unfamiliar purposes.’

diller scofidio renfro off the cuff
the familiar use of denim relates to the partially public nature of italian courtyards
image © rui teixeira

diller scofidio renfro off the cuff
the design team took advantage of the garments’ implicit structural logic
image © designboom

diller scofidio renfro off the cuff
the individual units allude to the human scale in relation to the built environment
image © designboom

diller scofidio renfro off the cuff
the meshed and twisted structure has been designed to evoke a sense of community
image © designboom

diller scofidio renfro off the cuff
the installation takes place within milan’s 5VIE design district
image © designboom

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

  • wonderful themed solution. it, seems that the cables and internal frame, etc. are the major support for this impressive design. I assume that 300 jeans will be thrown out after the events they are covering. i recall that students at Florida International University last year created a large opened canopy over a courtyard space using student collected plastic shopping bags. This self connected canopy of bags provided some shade, enclosure and no extra structure. After the events were over they were, easily sent to be recycled.

    profesdor harvey bernstein/ pratt institute says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
LOG IN
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

architecture news