Diller Scofidio + Renfro make a roof from jeans

The US architectural practice repurposes 300 pairs of denim strides for 2017's Milan Design Week
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 Diller Scofidio + Renfro's Jeans canopy for Palazzo Litta. Image courtesy of DAMN° magazine
Diller Scofidio + Renfro's Jeans canopy for Palazzo Litta. Image courtesy of DAMN° magazine

Diller Scofidio + Renfro might be best known for their work on The High Line, Manhattan’s incredibly successful linear park. However, the architectural firm started out in 1979 creating far more temporary structures.

“The early work had to do with found sites, sometimes guerrilla projects, temporary stolen sites in the city,” founding partner Liz Diller told us back in 2015.

This month DS+R are going back to their roots, creating a temporary canopy at Milan’s Palazzo Litta, as part of the city’s Design Week.

 

Matthew Johnson, Kumar Atre, and Liz Diller working on the Litta pavilion in Milan. Image courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro and DAMN° Magazine. Photo: Cristina Guadalupe Galván
Matthew Johnson, Kumar Atre, and Liz Diller working on the Litta pavilion in Milan. Image courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro and DAMN° Magazine. Photo: Cristina Guadalupe Galván

DS+R has partnered with the Belgian magazine DAMN° and the Milanese events company Mosca Partners to create a canopy from 300 pairs of repurposed jeans. This hanging net, or ‘catenary diagrid’ as Diller describes it in architectural terms, will serve as a roof for a weeklong series of events entitled A Matter of Perception: LINKING MINDS.

“We wanted to make a roof that doesn’t hide the courtyard,” explained Diller in an accompanying interview. “You can see right through it, but its span will convey a sense of overall enclosure.”

“We like using ready-made modules – actually misusing them – for architectural purposes,” she says. “We put two pairs of jeans together, stitching waist-to-waist and hem-to-hem.”

 

The firm favoured denim because of its democratic associations. “The jeans give it a grass-roots, voice-of-everyman ethos,” she says, “rather than a top-down one.” Let’s hope this week’s speakers remember that, when they take questions from the floor.

For more on Diller Scofidio + Renfro order a copy of The High Line; for more on jeans within contemporary culture get a copy of The Anatomy of Fashion.


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