Cloud Pavilion

The Cloud Pavilion served as a showcase space for Swedish furniture design and fabrication at the 2005 International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York. The problem of designing an indoor pavilion that highlights furniture is a curious one. Neither building nor furniturebut in danger of mimicking the scale of both, the Cloud Pavilion was faced with the paradoxical demands of being a beacon from across the exhibition hall but disappearing when actually visited, so as to not distract from the experience of viewing the furniture on display. Furthermore, when the Swedish Trade Council commissioned the design, a manifest of objects to be included did not yet exist which further convoluted any attempt to design specific display opportunities. Being exhibited at the Javits Center in New York City complicated matters further by layering onto the project immense fees for any use of (unionized) labor.

Rather than propose a piece of gargantuan display furniture, the pavilion at ICFF is conceived as a temporarily displaced portion of Sweden herself, a little Swedish Cloud that has floated across the Atlantic. All of the objects in the booth are unified by the presence of this undulating cloud structure above and the unique light that is cast through it. Due to its height, the cloud becomes visible from quite far away but allows the ground plane to be freely organized for curatorial purposes.
The underbelly of the cloud was designed as a control surface, allowing us to carefully craft three separate zones at different scales that create a variety of display possibilities underneath. By seeking to minimize the material waste and cutting time, both significant factors in our budget, we developed a unique method of nesting the shapes of individual ribs so that two pieces are cut with one tooling-passeliminating material waste.

To minimize incurring costly labor fees for transport and assembly, the project was prefabricated with fast assembling slot joinery, it weighed less than 1lb/sqf, required no tools, and it packed small and flat enough to be carried in through the front doors. By strategically navigating loopholes in NYC labor laws, the exhibition requirements, and CNC tool paths, the Cloud Pavilion successfully provided a potent design solution within a modest budget.

    • Location
    • International Contemporary Furniture Fair, New York, NY
    • Type
    • Pavilion Trade Show Booth
    • Status
    • Completed 2005
    • Size
    • 800 sf
    • Credits
    • Dustin Stephens (MOA)
    • in collaboration w/
    • Bryan Boyer, Justin Cook, Daniel DeSusa, Marta Morais, Kristen Hopkins, and Zhiyang Zhang.
    • Photographs by Greg Carafelli, Bryan Boyer, and Dustin Stephens