Urban Imprint

“Urban Imprint” is an immersive, kinetic, outdoor installation by Studio INI, exhibited at NYCxDesign for A/D/O by MINI, in Brooklyn, New York.

Visitors are invited to walk across the porous floor, only to discover that the low-hanging ceiling gives way as they move through. The indentation one’s weight makes on the floor is directly mirrored in the ceiling. One feels as if their body is forming a bubble or temporal space. Even the tallest person is able to cut a clear path from start to finish.

Both rubber and concrete surfaces of Urban Imprint are composed of a grid of water-jet-cut patterns that fully extend when engaged. A laser-cut double-steel spring bed and overhead pulley-system allows for this contraption to work seamlessly. In other words: the design incorporated technology in its production, but it is inherently analogue.

‘Your weight is literally and physically causing the transformation of the space, which translated into the material,’ explained Studio INI founder Nassia Inglessis. ‘It’s about considering the human factor in our cities and how we interact with each other in those environments. People have come to cities like New York for centuries because of a shared belief in human endeavour and motivation. We believe in interaction, but somehow our cities are becoming increasingly segmented, isolating people in smaller and smaller boxes.’

INI drew inspiration from Rem Koolhaas’ seminal book Delirious New York, in which the Dutch architect suggested that new urbanism should not rely on finite ideas, but rather incorporate the notion that space is fluid and in constant transformation — that is, it needs to accommodate various points of view.