“Optical Illusions of Volume” exhibition in Venice

Mara Marcu, Ming Tang, Adam Schueler’s project “Optical Illusions of Volume” is exhibited at the ‘DATA & MATTER’ Exhibition in Venice
Palazzo Bembo, Riva del Carbon, Venice, Italy.  May 24th to November 25th 2018

“Optical Illusions of Volume” critiques the ubiquitous obsession with optimization in computational design and fabrication. As an alternative, “Bubbles” begins to exploit misbehaviors in the ideal file to factory methodology. The work reconciles conflicting attitudes between traditional CAD/CAM strategies, augmented reality, and analog post-processing techniques. The project employs the use of a lightweight sheet material, parametric design, holographic imaging, and investigates accidental and more intuitive assembly strategies. In this way, we develop techniques within the digital process that exploit a non-linear design and fabrication approach in which the human and the machine become increasingly disrespectful of each other’s artificially delineated boundary. Therefore, what are considered by norm flaws, or faulty formations, can open up intriguing opportunities in architecture, otherwise neglected.

Mara Marcu is an architect and professor of architecture at the University of Cincinnati, School of Architecture and Interior Design. Founder of MMXlll (which stands for Merely Maybe x Idyllic Imagination Inflicted–or simply– MM Thirteen), she structures her work around various collections. Their focus ranges from optical illusions of volume, mathematical experiments, the metamorphosis of two dimensional material to three dimensional form, the possibility of endless variation through human interaction, the natural versus the artificial (and “the everything else” that lies in between), emergent textures, degrees of transparency, breeding taxonomies to emergent primitives.

Ming Tang is an architect and professor of architecture at the University of Cincinnati, School of Architecture and Interior Design. He is the founding partner of TYA Design–a multi-disciplinary research practice which includes computational design, digital fabrication, BIM, performance driven design, virtual reality & augmented reality, crowd simulation & way-finding, and human-computer interaction (HCI).

Adam Schueler is an architectural designer, a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, School of Architecture and Interior Design and a Master of Architecture candidate at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. His work prioritizes a keen interest in the less than ideal, in the peculiar and the sublime over the ever-changing architectural style.



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The ‘DATA & MATTER’ Exhibition is hosted by the GAA Foundation, European Cultural Centre that will take place at the Palazzo Bembo during the Architecture Venice Biennale 2018, from May 24th to November 25th 2018 in Venice, Italy.  This exhibition presents a group of projects by leading international designers using emerging and novel forms of reading and producing spatial conditions that connect/visualize data, responsive systems, and sensing/actuation technologies, through micro and macro scales. The exhibition takes the opportunity to exhibit a range of projects, side by side, that transform data as an abstraction into spatial and experiential configurations. It aims at triggering discussion and debate on how the use of data in design methodologies and theoretical discourses have evolved in the last two decades and why processes of data measurement, quantification, simulation, ubiquitous technologies and algorithmic control, and their integration into methods of making architectural form and spatial experiences, are becoming vital in academic and industry practices.

Room #13A


GGA Foundation
European Cultural Centre
Venice, Italy

Curatorial Team:
Marcella del Signore, Associate Professor, New York Institute of Technology, NY, USA
Nancy Diniz, Assistant Professor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, NY, USA
Frank Melendez, Assistant Professor, City College of New York, CUNY, NY, USA