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The Labyrinth of Chateaugiron

The Labyrinth of Chateaugiron

Designed and built by Post Industrial Crafts, The labyrinth of Chateaugiron is the first very large space frame ever 3D printed for a historical public space

Location: Chateaugiron, France
Year: 2022
Size: 800 sq.m.
Program: Public Installation

Designed and Built by Post Industrial Crafts, The labyrinth of Chateaugiron is the first very large space frame ever 3D printed for a historical public space. Made from 4,500 recycled water gallons, fully reconfigurable for all public activities, the labyrinth is based on a geodesic modular system. It answers to the Center for the Arts’ (Les 3 Cha) program but also the symbolic demand of a labyrinth to complete and  enhance the iconic presence of the castle.

About the Project :
In the collective imagination and in the typologies of castle gardens, the labyrinth – a place of games and seduction but also of contemplation – represents a potential model for symbolic depth with an aesthetic of its own. The Labyrinth of Chateaugiron was based on a geodesic modular system, promoted by Buckminster Fuller, which allows to cover large surfaces with the minimum material possible.

These three-dimensional structures have their own aesthetics, reminiscent of snowflakes, arabesques, and geometric compositions found in Nature. They form images to be contemplated while ensuring maximum resistance with a minimum weight and a transparency that was needed to not hinder views of the castle.

Entirely made of about 3,000 pieces of gigantic 3D Printed combinable elements, the hexagonal grid assembles the tetrahedrons into a stable and solid three-dimensional structure that creates large vertical planes with minimal material. Solid, light, movable, outdoor resistant and maintenance free. The placemaking installation allowed creating other uses and practices in the space in the courtyard that was once martial and empty and is now inhabited by many pockets of space.

The elements, with its steel legs are self-supporting with no foundation required. The multiple assembly points are open to any use and allows for different public functions such as: exhibitions, moving screens, hanging walls, scenes backdrops, space division, etc…

Structure :
The geodesic grid is composed of three types of segments:

  • Hexagon edge
  • Tetrahedron edge
  • Equilateral triangular base of the Tetrahedrons

This geometric simplicity allowed the assembly to be undergone by general public and is open to multiple configurations. The structures are also easy to handle because of their moderate weight and the lack of sharp edges or corners : 3D printing in very large format creates soft, rounded profiles that play with the light. The space frame walls allowed us to define pockets of space, which we complemented  with 3D printed benches and large pots made from the same material. Each time the elements are put back in a different conformation after being used for an event: a new labyrinth configuration is created. Instead of being disassembled and stored after an event it supported, the structure stays in the courtyard, proposing another maze layout to the visitors, and enriching the courtyard space with potential experiences. This perpetual renewal avoids any lassitude in the design and invites the public to rediscover it regularly.

Materials :
The deep and transparent blue of the elements works very well with the blue of the slates of the castle roofs and is reinforced by the contrast between the old matte warm colored stones of the walls and the very smooth and slick 3D printed recycled plastic.

Experience :
The installation takes over the courtyard space and transforms it for the pleasure of all. Children can explore the labyrinth while parents can sit on the benches scattered in several pockets of space in the shade of a tree. Pockets of space reproduce courtyards and plazas. In Middle Ages, the old city of Chateaugiron was mostly built with temporary structures made of wood and fabric, which did not last. We got used to a vision of emptied public spaces, which came only from decay. The maze installation is bringing back the scale of small urban pockets and function into the medieval town of Chateaugiron.