betatank: scaffolding brut
 
betatank: scaffolding brut betatank: scaffolding brut
sep 05, 2011

betatank: scaffolding brut

limited edition glazed porcelain scaffolding sets, ‘scaffolding brut’ by beta tank

israeli-german designer eyal burstein of beta tank presents ‘scaffolding brut’, a project at the victoria and albert museum (V&A) during london design week 2011. using scaffolding as an artistic medium, burstein presents the possibility that these industrial, temporary structures could beautify and enhance the urban landscape in which they dominate.

having been fascinated with scaffolding for a few years, interested in their aesthetic of repetitive engineering configurations, beta tank began asking questions, ‘if scaffolding systems are so impressive without design specifications, how utterly magnificent could they become if the need for beauty was attributed to construction?‘ and, ‘given the fact that they cover large sections of any given city, rather than getting in the way, could scaffolding assist accessibility and mobility?‘

designboom interviewed burstein about his interest in scaffolding, his research of the temporary structures and what he is presenting at the V&A during this year’s design festival in london.

casting the scaffolding parts

casting the scaffolding parts

DB: scaffolding? BT: beta tank has been fascinated by scaffolding for a few years. although these structures are found on almost every street, their aesthetic form comes from a system of safety requirements and repetitive engineering configurations, rather than any artistic endeavour. the fact that such a visual construction universally exists untouched by design is an extremely interesting phenomenon that is inspirational.

coupler from which eyal burstein cast a mould to produce his porcelain versions

through your research, what were some of the most interesting facts / design elements of scaffolding you discovered? although not directly related to the design elements, the fact that left the strongest impression on me, was one I found in a book titled safety engineering applied to scaffolds written in 1915 by the traveler’s insurance company; 25% of all construction site accidents were related to scaffolding. and, looking at modern statistics, the percentages of scaffolding-related injuries are quite similar. for me, that means that scaffolding is not only beautiful, it’s also deadly.

you use different sets of scaffolding accessories, why you decided to address these particular aspects of urban living within your project? on show at the victoria and albert museum are three different sets of scaffolding accessories for the residents of buildings covered by scaffolding. while regular pedestrians may sometimes clash with the ever-present scaffolding, the resident whose house’s facade is taken over by scaffolding is most negatively affected by these structures. the idea of these accessories is to offer a solution to the tenants by giving them beautiful objects that actually use the scaffolding system and can therefore be attached (and taken off) at will.

the first accessory set is a collection of bird houses, the second is an assortment of identical vases creating an urban garden, and the third is a romantic date scenario, which includes candle holders, a vase, a wine cooler, and even a radio. the accessories will be bought and attached to the scaffolding by the tenants, but the effect the objects produce will also be for the benefit of the pedestrians. the birdhouses, but especially the vases will invite nature into the city. covering the facade of a scaffolded building with vases and plants will create a tall, vertical garden, improving the raggedy look of the often-torn tarpaulin. the romantic date accessory allows the tenants to take charge and even increase the area and use of their outside space. they can take advantage of the scaffolding that was once in their way. all of accessories are connected to one scaffolding pole and made completely out of porcelain.

why porcelain rather than another material? initially I just wanted to make scaffolding that is beautiful enough to be shown in a reputable museum. I chose porcelain because it is a royal material that stands in stark contrast to the brutish and often dirty steel to which we are accustomed to when thinking of scaffolding. on a practical level, I know that another material would be more applicable. however, at the beginning of a new project, in this case ‘scaffolding brut’, I like to start with more fantastic objects, so that I can develop and gain more insight with the project – the concluding objects reflect my own growth and become more grounded.

individual porcelain components

what is the proposed installation form of your presentation at the victoria and albert museum? I am building a scaffolding arch inside the tunnel entrance of the V+A. my aim is to see if scaffolding can be both functional and beautiful by testing how far I can push the scaffolding system within the confines of the space. hopefully, the next stage will be to incorporate extra, enhancing shapes to existing scaffolding projects to create a pleasing visual effect.

up close of porcelain pole and coupler

beta tank has produced 50 limited edition glazed porcelain scaffolding sets which are set for sale on his website here.

more images of the making of ‘scaffolding brut’:

plaster moulds

fired porcelain parts

parts ready to be glazed

glazed components

proposed installation for the V&A

‘urban garden’ accessory

‘urban garden’ accessory

‘birdhouse’ accessory

‘romantic scenario’ accessories

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