Studio TJOA is based out of Brooklyn, New York working in a variety of materials and processes that range from analog to those that utilize digital technology. Their approach to various design challenges work are guided by materials, techniques and tools which results in some surprising solutions that are inventive and fresh. The influence of experimentation with textile structures gleaned from knitting to crochet techniques reoccurs throughout their portfolio of projects reaffirming the complex relationship between textiles and architecture.
How would you describe your process from idea to execution?
When we approach an idea, we tend to front load the experiment with construction, feasibility, and materiality. Our designs and our process is heavily influenced by these factors and we try to let the physical environment, the constraints of the project, and the material help guide us through the development. Our method in regards to architectural projects is similar, however the approach tends to be more spatial than material, but ultimately the constructability and the manner of construction aids in the development and definition of the form and structure.
What are the primary materials used in this process?
What we enjoy about our studio is we do not have a typical go to material. We are often inspired by the materials that we find in other aspects of our design practice. Artwork like the Lilypad and the Acoustical Installation are created from a foam rod material commonly used in construction. The scale and feel of the material is a large part of the emotion that these pieces invoke. Material selection is part of how we approach the idea through experimentation because we rely on what ever material we are using per that project.
Why were you attracted to this material(s)?
We are attracted to using materials in unexpected ways. We gravitate towards materials that are typically industrial or considered to be more commodity. The idea of using often overlooked materials and expressing it in an artful way is our way of showing appreciation for the material. We enjoy looking for beauty in the mundane and exploring ways to express the wonder of that material.
After your initial step, how do you proceed from there?
Once we have created physical models and decided upon the material that we want to work with, we tend to move into a more technical realm. Depending on the project, that could mean research, computer modeling, analysis, or full scale models.
What is your first step in beginning a project with this process?
It all depends on the project itself, although it tends to start with an idea for exploration and experimentation. Experimentation is the heart of our studio. Though we believe in the need for top down rules, constraints, and evaluation, the actual process of development is a bottom up exploration through experimentation with techniques, materials, and physical models.
As you have developed this process of working, what were some of the initial hurdles you had to figure out?
Our emergent method is often very wide and boundless at the beginning. It is sometimes hard to fight the urge to set unnecessary and heavy handed constraints in the initial stages of design. We have realized that the best restrictions and governing rules are expressed to us during the interaction of the material and the techniques employed.
How do you know when you are done or finished?
We rarely ever feel like we are done with a project. It is very hard for us to stop continually changing and experimenting with our work. We try to do our best with each piece that we send out or show, but we almost always make changes to the next iteration of the item.
When you first shared this work with someone what were the initial responses?
We have been very happy with the response to our work and typically all inquiries are a result of interest from our website. While images do give a sense of our work, there is no substitute for seeing the real pieces in person. For example, the scale of the Lilypad is often underestimated in images, but when people see it for the first time, they are often surprised and delighted with the unexpected statement that it makes.
What is the one word you would use to describe your work?
To learn more about Studio TJOA projects visit: www.studiotjoa.com