French artist Aude Franjou has recently collaborated with Maltese architecture firm AP on the design and realisation of a project that utilises sculpture in a practical manner as a shading device.
The sculpture itself protects the south east façade of a kitchen extension and is designed to be operable to allow maximum vision of the garden during periods of inclement weather, and maximum shade during the hot season.
The vegetal surface, made from hemp and flax withstands harsh external environmental conditions since both materials have a strong tradition in the long history of rope making for sea vessels; are environmentally friendly; visually rich and engages the senses of touch and smell.
The forms are derived from the natural qualities of the material, and the curvature develops from the tension applied as the flax is woven around the hemp interior.
In the same manner as trees growing out of the ground and spreading their tentacle - like branches over the glass surfaces of the kitchen walls, this contemporary sculpture creates a dialogue between the garden and the kitchen, belonging as it does to both the mineral and the vegetal world.
“Like a ceramist in his own right, I play with the material. I need to tame it while allowing it maximum freedom. Says Aude.
"Although I start the project with an idea that is defined in my head and fixed, my gestures of necessity follow the demands of the material as I go along - its reactions and movements. Sometimes I try to curb its freedom, sometimes I allow it to be spontaneous and to guide me.”