‘noodle soup,’ winning entry to the 2018 ragdale ring competition, is an architectural scale interface. office ca conceived as an interactive playscape pavilion, flexible enough for a range of outdoor performances, and picturesque enough for it to seamlessly integrate into the wooded scenery of lake forest. it features a set of fuzzy, fixed structures (walls) around which are soft, linear, pliable pieces of furniture (noodles). the soft elements can interact with the hard structures to serve functional purposes such as seating, but they can also act as oversized toys, freely configurable in a variety of ways. conceptually, noodle soup seeks to empower the individual’s artistic agency as well as blend whimsy, playfulness, and interaction into a transformable constructed landscape with both predictable and unpredictable results.
images by zane shaffer
made of traditional wood framing, the walls and the stage are the only fixed element in the composition. they are conceived as having been ‘peeled’ up from the ground on one side and sculpted into seating on the other. this contrast between natural and artificial is further articulated by having the concave side clad in a green shade of synthetic turf, blending it into the ground. the convex side is clad in a neon shade of turf so as to reinforce its artificial qualities. as the viewer makes their way around the composition, some walls recede into the greenery of the landscape, while others emerge to the foreground as geometric objects in a picturesque forest.
the noodles are waterproof bean bags arranged throughout the composition in various lengths. they are made primarily of PVC coated polyester mesh fabric — which provides weatherproofing for extended exterior use — filled with recycled foam peanuts. typically used for covering outdoor stage electronics, this fabric material is durable and lightweight. the fill is carefully customized so as to give the noodle enough weight to withstand wind, but light enough so individual users can reposition them as they wish.
noodles can be looped, knotted, slumped over, and piled up. they can interact with the walls in various ways, by threading them through openings or simply laying them on the steps. the different lengths cater to different uses. for example, looped ones can be used for small gatherings, long ones can be coiled in an S-shape for stage seating, and short ones can be knotted to form a recliner. if necessary, noodles can be hooked onto onto walls for added security.
located just north of chicago, ragdale is one of the oldest and largest interdisciplinary artists’ communities in the country, annually supporting 200 residencies, fellowships, and collaborative projects for creative practitioners of all types.
name: noodle soup
design: office ca
photography: zane shaff
location: lake forest, IL, USA
description: courtesy of office ca