Curvecrete at Melbourne Design Week

As part of Melbourne Design Week, the National Gallery of Victoria ran the ‘Victorian Design Challenge’, inviting design professionals and students to tackle the challenge of ‘waste’. This culminated on Tuesday March 19 with the team behind ‘Curvecrete’ live pitching their invention in the Great Hall of the NGV for a $15,000.00 prize in the Waste Challenge final.

Curvecrete #1

One of five professional firms to have been shortlisted for the design challenge, Curvecrete’s entry utilised a novel, advanced fabrication technique invented by a team of researchers led by Paul Loh at the Melbourne School of Design. The technology, titled Parametric Adjustable Mould (P.A.M), allows for the production of curved concrete panels using a single adjustable mould, with no immediate waste. This is a commendable development considering the manufacturing of concrete is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions; traditional concrete is formed using manual methods which contribute to tonnes of wasted timber, steel, polystyrene and fibreglass.

Curvecrete #3

The Curvecrete team has been supported by the Translating Research at Melbourne program and the Wade Institute to commercialise this research.

The design proposal for the Waste Challenge was a chair concept that embodies the innovative fabrication technique within a highly refined design piece. The chair, titled Superleggera (which in Italian means Super light), encapsulates the team’s vision to enable designers to create artefacts and architecture that reverses the problem of waste in Victoria and Australia.

Curvecrete #2

After a compelling presentation and comprehensive response to the judging panels’ questioning, the Curvecrete team was bested by the strong design of a competitor. The future is bright for Curvecrete with multiple avenues being explored to help develop and advance the concept. Keep your eyes open for Curvecrete in the coming months.

Project team:

  • Paul Loh Lecturer in Digital Architecture at the Melbourne School of Design. He is a partner of LLDS Architects and a unique micro-manufacturing facility, Power to Make. Paul is also a director of the Architectural Research Laboratory.
  • Daniel Prohasky is an Architectural Engineer and Roboticist who is the Innovation Fellow at Swinburne University | Faculty of Health, Arts and Design.
  • Warren Rudd is a Chartered Accountant and Master of Entrepreneurship graduate (from the Wade Institute, University of Melbourne).

In collaboration with:

  • Marcus Cher is an industrial designer that has exhibited at Sakura Lounge at the Milano Furniture Fair and shortlisted for young Australian designer award (SOYA) 2005-06. Currently doing his PhD at RMIT University.
  • Paul Meeuwsen has worked as a graphic designer and branding consultant with global brands Disney, Lucas Arts and Shell to create highly valued brands. He now runs his branding and graphic design practice Meeuwsen Consultancy.
  • Travis Gemmill is an industrial/digital designer, and Virtual Reality expert recently graduated from RMIT University.

The team acknowledge the contribution of David Leggett (Power to Make / Architectural Research Lab) as one of the key inventors for the PAM technology.