‘timber rhyme’ a plywood installation by studio ardete, occupies the first storey of a retail shop in a market complex in chandigarh, india. the challenge was to liven a walk through the existing 71′ by 18′ linear block, as one enters from the rear end. due to the modernity of fabrication and an ever-changing process, the designers felt the dialogue between carpenters and products had diminished. so for this project, the concept was an elemental ribbon that became the subject of this dialogue, while adorning the space and enveloping viewers in a dynamic experience. 


all images © purnesh dev nikhanj



represented through the ribbon that pours itself into space, ‘variety in a unified continuum’ nourishes studio ardete’s concept. the site was converted into a spatial matrix, as the ribbon gets developed, by selecting a series of spatial coordinates joined together to formulate double curvature solids. a single window at the shop’s front triggers passersby to engage with the space, and upon entering the plywood envelops the viewer.




the ribbon provides a dynamic experience, where the eye meets varying focal points each at a different elevation than previous. the observer’s speed is dictated by his surroundings as the form makes its presence felt, carving a new perspective with each viewpoint. the ribbon is envisioned to blur the boundaries between the static, the movable and the art in-and-on these components of the built space. 




the role of static elements like partition screens is obfuscated with that of movable furniture. propounding as a functional art space, a series of ‘wooden ribbons’ twist and turn to form the display shelves, sitting spaces, meeting table and other design elements each flowing into the other. this transcends the interior into an art-landscape. these ‘elastic geometries’ were realized to be almost self-supporting, threaded from the ceiling using black metal bars. 




for additional support, translucent acrylic supports were given where the heavy load would be subjected on the ribbon. the ribbon is manifested as a framework of plywood ribs that were digitally fabricated with the help of a definition developed in grasshopper. to interpolate the double curvature geometries, these were subdivided into a network of plywood ribs in x and y directions, interlocking at 6 inches interval. 




to form the structure, cnc milling was used to cut the individual components from a 19mm thick plywood ribs. 3mm thick flexi-ply and 1.5 mm thick paper veneer was used, each cut and handled by the carpenter. they were then jig-sawed in-situ, by the carpenters, in a unidirectional arrangement to correctly align to the next segment. the resultant was a thin, workable skin of plywood 61 linear feet, ranging in width from 9 inches to 8 feet. 




the end detail lies in the finishing of the ribs where carpentry skill meets technology. each flexi-ply joint was filled with wood filler and sanded as required. it is through this last stage of processing that the carpenter takes ownership from technology and uses his experience and ‘telltale knowledge’ for a finished structure. 

studio ardete fills shop's interiors with a flowing wooden ribbon in india

all diagrams © studio ardete



the light oak veneer was chosen for its soft grain, drawing attention to other materials while acting as background noise to put materials against each other. this evolved the other half of the name as ‘rhyme’, an uncertain noise and whispering in ears, subconsciously picked up by the soul, but almost always unaware by the mind. the retail shop became a setting befitting for a dialogue between the carpenter, the end-user and the retailer deepening social engagement. as plywood-carpentry meets its entropic spiral, ‘timber rhyme’ hopes to create an opportunity to re-imagine craft of the traditional curves, as a source of inspiration for the next generation of woodworkers. 

studio ardete fills shop's interiors with a flowing wooden ribbon in india

studio ardete fills shop's interiors with a flowing wooden ribbon in india

studio ardete fills shop's interiors with a flowing wooden ribbon in india

studio ardete fills shop's interiors with a flowing wooden ribbon in india

studio ardete fills shop's interiors with a flowing wooden ribbon in india


project info:


project name: timber rhyme 

architecture firm: studio ardete 

completion year: 2018 

gross built area: 134 sqm 

project location: chandigarh, india

lead architects: ar.badrinath kaleru and ar.prerna kaleru 

design team: badrinath kaleru, prerna kaleru, nisha singh sarao, palak puri 

client : bansal ply chandigarh. 

photography: ar.purnesh dev nikhanj 

electrical lighting consultant: the luminars 

plywood: kitply veneer – turakhias natural veneer

paints:  asian paints 

adhesives: 3m 

lighting: osram 

tiles: simpolo



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: cristina gomez | designboom