Within the depths of Alaska’s Mendenhall glacier, flowing water rolls gently over the barren ground. As temperature rises from the surface, it impacts the glacier roof, causing surreal, spontaneous cave structures.
The interior is a microcosm, representing the infinitely turning water-cycle. Though beautiful, the phenomenon is a troubling reminder that day by day, the glacier is slowly fading away to nothingness.
In 1942, the Juneau Icefield Research Program began monitoring the numerous glaciers surrounding the city; including Mendenhall. Sixteen years later, in 1958, the mass was recorded as having lost 1.75 miles (2.82km). While that might not seem that bad, estimates believe that the glacier had receded only 2.5 miles (4km) in the preceding 458 years — around 1500.
After becoming familiar with the world altering issue of glacial melting, NOWlab started what has become an on-going research project to investigate natural processes, their applications in design, and how gained knowledge can be used to form products as optimally as possible. ‘Glacier’ is a 100% recyclable and biodegradable sculptural stool/table, that emphasizes a new school of thought, development, and construction.
‘Glacier’ has an integrated three-dimensional periodic microstructure, which provides maximum structural performance without burdening the object with weight. The configuration was created through computer-based simulations able to detect the location of peak stress points and actively adapt the geometry in response. The object is produced in cooperation with Bigrep and their ONE.2 machine, which is capable of printing at a scale of up to 1m3.