NILAs sculpture
“NILAs” is a sculpture for the ”Light-houses – on the Common Nordic Groud” exhibition at the Venice architectural biennale. It represents an approach to building systems where skin, structure and technical appliances are all integrated into one responsive building tissue. The model for multifunctional building systems comes from organic systems such as plants.

“Nila” is a Finnish word for phloem which is the living tissue that carries organic nutrients (known as photosynthate) to all parts of the plant where needed.

The process

The aim of the NILAs project was to research and develop computational design methods, in order to design an intricate sculpture for the Architectural Biennale in Venice 2012. The process sought inspiration from natural form-creating systems and their organic, fractal nature. We set out to design a fluent, yet at the same time complex, three-dimensional sculpture – a Light house, keeping with the theme of the Nordic exhibition. The design process aimed for the creation of a physical object; design methods were carefully selected and considered to support the manufacturing methods. The key was to find the delicate balance between organic complexity and artistic representation.

A simple mesh-based geometric object is used as an input for a subdivision process. The subdivision algorithm itself is very simple and the complex nature of the object is derived through its use in multiple iterations. This creates intricate and fractal geometry, which surpasses in resolution and detail even the most accurate manufacturing methods.

This sculpture, NILAs, represents architectural vision and creative digital sculpturing, combined with the possibilities of computational design and manufacturing methods.


More information from:

The Finnish Museum of Architecture
Eero Lundén
Markus Wikar
Toni Österlund