Friday, July 9, 2010

The Spandex Pavillion

Recently, I was perusing the Inhabitat website and came across this little gem. As a swimmer and water polo player I am very familiar with the Speedo brand. Swimmers tend to hold on to their suits, using them to add drag during a workout, until they are literally little more than shreds or scraps of material. This story deals not so much with old suits themselves but a use for suit material.

Not really up-to-date on your swimsuit types? I won't hold it against you. Much. The LZR Racer is considered one of the most technologically advanced swimsuits ever made. Yeah, swimsuits can be technologically advanced too - its all about hydrodynamics. Since its launch in 2008 it has been covering the goodies of 90 swimmers who have broken world records. But, FINA has since banned the suit from competition - making them obsolete and unusable.

This particular piece takes a look at interesting uses for the unused budgy smugglers (<--some fantastic speedo slang I picked up in Australia). As part of the Xpo Pavilion Project, a group of undergraduate students from the Chelsea College of Art & Design transformed 200 LZR Racer swimming suits (sponsored by Speedo) into the s_pavilion for the London Festival of Architecture.

Why would anyone do this? The project was created to "address issues of sustainability through consideration of the use of materials and the development fabrication process." Digital tech was used to optimize the design and production, and different disciplines including textile design, materials engineering , and programming engineering were brought together to collaborate. The pavilion is located at the Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground at Chelsea College.

Here's the story:
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