Knitting & Hosiery


Oxman’s Silk Pavilion II arrives at Integral

Esquel proudly presents Silk Pavilion II from the Mediated Matter Group at the MIT Media Lab. The centerpiece of the project is on display from November 2020 in the Learning Center at Integral.

Exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) in New York earlier in 2020, Silk Pavilion II is one of the most recent iconic works of Neri Oxman, award-winning architect, designer, inventor and professor of media arts and sciences at the MIT Media Lab.

Exploration, as part of the eCulture, prompts us to stay curious and to always keep learning and innovating. Silk Pavilion II is here to serve as a conspicuous reminder that disruptive technologies are constantly knocking on our door, and we shall never get complacent with the status quo. Blurring the boundaries of engineering, biology, art and computer science, Oxman’s project aims not only to take our breath away with the astounding construction, but also leave us inspired by what can be achieved from cross-disciplinary innovations.

Through her work, Oxman offers a version of future where architecture and manufacturing can work synergistically with nature rather than dominating over it. This makes the scenic campus of Integral a perfect home to the masterpiece. It accentuates Esquel’s commitment to sustainability as embodied in the development model of Integral. The goal to also create value for the environment in our pursuit of business growth and industry leadership is firmly embedded in Esquel’s (hardware), operations, products and people.

© 2021 Esquel Group
© 2021 Esquel Group

More about Silk Pavilion II

In the Silk Pavilion II project, Neri Oxman asks what may be the radically sustainable methods for knitting, making and building in the age of the Anthropocene, and how humankind and other species like silkworms may collaborate in the construction of objects, products and buildings. Standing six meters tall and five meters wide, Silk Pavilion II offers insights into these questions by combining kinetic manufacturing with biological construction, uniting the built and the grown, fusing technology and biology.

It is comprised of three interrelated layers – firstly the innermost one-dimensional steel cable system, secondly a two-dimensional soluble knitted fabric scaffold, and thirdly a three-dimensional structure biologically spun with the output of 17,532 Italian silkworms sourced from one of the most extensive silkworm rearing facilities in Europe.

© 2021 Esquel Group
© 2021 Esquel Group

The structure was produced horizontally, with a jig to enable constant clockwise rotation that facilitated the silkworms’ upward spinning motion. Structural forces were biochemically influenced according to local environmental factors. The final appearance, including the holes and the variations in thickness, paints a metabolic canvas of the silkworms’ behaviors.

Traditional silk harvesting involves boiling the cocoon and killing the larva. The project demonstrates that man-made engineering setup can be used to guide the silkworms’ movement and silk deposition, so that the silkworms can still mature and reproduce after the fabrication process.

Silk Pavilion II was Neri Oxman’s centerpiece of her solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York from February to October 2020. It is a sequel to Silk Pavilion, which Oxman created in 2013 on the ground floor of MIT Media Lab with a swarm of 6,500 silkworms.

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