British studio Zaha Hadid Design has unveiled its Nth Display System, a prototype modular furniture system that was informed by the natural shapes made by erosion, at London Design Festival.
The studio designed two prototypes of the modular structure, which has an undulating shape that draws on geological phenomenon such as erosion and stratification.
“The Nth Display System is a blend of apparent dichotomies: soft and sharp, the combination of convex and concave, and a sculptural sensibility that impacts on the relation between object and space,” Zaha Hadid Design co-director Maha Kutay told Dezeen.
“This rhythm of folds, niches, and protrusions coherently follows a formal logic emphasizing the continuous nature of the design and the smooth transition between otherwise separate elements, with seamlessmess representing the culmination of this morphological approach.”
The system, which the studio explained can be used in “virtually any deployment and setting,” is comprised of 12 modules in total – three sets with a height of 75 centimetres and a width of respectively 40 centimetres, 50 centimetres and 60 centimetres.
These can be combined to create different displays that Zaha Hadid Design envisions could be used to showcase products at tradeshows and exhibitions.
The prototypes were made from a high-density lightweight polyurethane plastic, but the studio aims to eventually explore other materials and is also looking at using wire-cutting technology to fabricate the pieces.
“We are currently looking at a prototype and we shall start to apply wire-cutting technology once the Nth Display System will go into production,” Zaha Hadid Design co-director Woody Yao told Dezeen.
“Having said that, this is not the first time we employ such a solution and we have been using wire-cutting tools over the years – mainly for model-making purposes but also for some limited edition furniture pieces,” he added.
“In fact, we have developed quite a lot of experience with it. In this specific circumstance, we believe wirecutting can be extremely advantageous for the level of precision it provides, limiting distortion to a minimum, as well as being cost-effective.”
The studio is also currently working on Cycloscape, a series of prototype centrepieces that are made from sand and created using 3D-printing techniques. The pieces form part of Zaha Hadid Design’s focus on innovative fabrication processes.
“We always design with consideration as to how any item will have to be built,”explained Kutay.
“Our designs have always relied on the continual progress in the development of fabrication technologies and manufacturing techniques, yet also on the provision of ductile, light, resistant and sustainable materials,” she continued.
“The choice for a certain materiality of an object follows the initial concept, its intended function and the resulting formal approach that is applied specifically to each project.”
Other recent designs by the studio include a wooden furniture collection launched at Milan design week with Japanese brand Karimoku and stackable crystal-glass containers.
The photography is by Luke Hayes.
Nth Display System is on show at The Coal Office, King’s Cross, as part of London Design Festival from 16 to 24 September 2023. See our London Design Festival guide on Dezeen Events Guide for information about the many other exhibitions, installations and talks taking place throughout the week.