'Enagua' Welcome Tower for the Runway at Playa Vista
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Application Custom Kinetic Facade
Architect Ned Kahn & Scott Johnson
Installation Franklyn Berry Engineering
Colour Steel & Copper
Kaynemaile-Armour & Ned Kahn collaboration
In November of 2012, Ned Kahn began collaboration with Architect Scott Johnson on the design of what was originally called the Welcome Tower for the Runway at Playa Vista. From the beginning, the intent was to merge art and architecture so that there was no dividing line between the two. The ribbed structure is intended to suggest a garment, rippling in the wind. Each rib supports 2 layers of a plastic chainmail fabric that ripples like the ocean in a storm when the wind picks up.
For the last 25 years Ned Kahn has collaborated with architects and engineers to create kinetic facades that respond to wind and light. He has completed major projects in Singapore, Switzerland, Germany, the UK, Japan, Australia and throughout the US. In 2009, Kahn wrapped a building in San Diego with thousands of pieces of aluminium chainmail. The metal chainmail was very time consuming and expensive to produce. A few years later he met Kayne Horsham, an inventor and founder of Kaynemaile seamless mesh from New Zealand, who had worked on the Lord of the Rings movies, creating chainmail for armies of Middle Earth. Kayne said the movies were going to be delayed waiting for the metal chainmail suppliers to fabricate enough. The engineer’s system clothed the armies quickly and kept the shoot on schedule. Kayne described the process as feeding plastic pellets into a machine that churns out assembled chainmail on the other end.
The design of the artwork at Playa Vista evolved though extensive collaboration between the artist and Franklyn Berry, the engineer, Kayne Horsham, the founder of Kaynemaile Ltd, Patrick Ela, the art consultant, Scott Johnson and the staff at Johnson/Fain and the steel fabricators, Paramount Metals and Supply. Ned Kahn created a series of prototypes and tested them on a windy hillside next to his studio in Sebastopol. The result that they chose is Kaynemaile Building-Armour that expands when it billows gracefully in the wind. It is also exceedingly strong so it can handle even the fierce Santa Ana winds; in fact, the inventor made a trampoline out of it in New Zealand.
Kahn says there is a wind channel right from the ocean into Runway which the Kaynemaile -Armour takes advantage of. It is kinetic and lively, constantly moving. He calls the piece “Enagua”, a Latin- American under dress that provides volume which the billowing fabric resembles. The name is also a play on the words En-agua, in water, since the wind over the ocean waters flows into Runway and blows over the Kaynemaile.
"It will blow your mind.”
—Ned Kahn, Kinetic Artist
Metal based materials corrode and oxidise in coastal conditions. Kaynemaile does not. Our mesh holds true to its tensile strength. We use mineral colour-fast pigments that will not stain your building when it rains, unlike traditional metal mesh materials.
Kaynemaile-Armour gives you the ability to control the level of direct light entering your building. This can be as little as 25% right up to 50% light penetration.
Our mesh is made from the highest performing thermoplastic. It is extremely robust and impact resistant. Thermally stable from -40°C to 120°C.
Our mesh goes up fast, cutting down the install time dramatically and saving costs. Our systems are simple and our mesh is light weight meaning we don’t need the same level of fixings as metal products. This means our installed rate is more cost effective than other metal products or glass panels.
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