THE WORKS OF SIMON HJERMIND JENSEN

 

To explore organic form and space together with my unique construction technique in relation to humans, the place, and our surroundings is the core of my practice.

 

My work emerges from my desire to create relation with ourselves, structures, places and each other. A relation that can be both experienced between humans, and between the human and the non-human. I get inspired by organic forms in landscapes and in vegetation, and I have a special interest in the feelings I can encounter with these forms. These feelings give me the experience of being related and belong. And I see an architectural potential in this. Therefore, I am interested in the concept of sympathy, which can articulate this. A sympathetic relationship with architecture creates a feeling of belonging, and it arouses a curiosity to explore and being present.

 

Through the last seven years I have worked with a structural concept based on the strength of the curve. This concept gives a minimal use of material and a high stability.

 

I start each project analogously with a focus on the intuitive. Then I continue analyzing and building my project digitally. Next I produce with CNC technology, and finally I assemble on the site. I use intuition as a method for creating sympathetic spaces and forms. And by combining digital parametric tools in the design phase with the use of CNC technology in the production phase, my construction principle for building organic form and space becomes possible. At the same time, this combination allows me to create spatial structures in asymmetric postures where none of the parts are the same.

 

The opportunities I see arise through my work motivate me. And my presumptions often drive me from project to project. Sometimes I take initiative to start a project, and other times a project starts with the contact and ideas from a private or public client.

 

In recent years I have added a ceramic aspect to my work. This gives me a great opportunity to integrate the intuitive into my process, and it has enabled me to develop the theory of my construction technique. Likewise, it has enabled me to first explore and create sympathy in solid form, and then study it architecturally.

 

I receive a growing interest for my work, and it has been featured around the internet and in various architectural magazines like Arkitekten (Danish), A10 (European) and Concept (Korean). Also my work has been featured in books published by Gestalten, Braun and Birkhauser.

 

Often I work and collaborate with other related professionals and assistants in realising projects. I graduated in 2007 from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture in Copenhagen with part of my study time at RMIT in Melbourne. After graduation I worked for C. F. Møller Architects in London. I founded my own practice in 2010.

 

Beneath is a further description of my process, my construction technique and my understanding of the conception of sympathy.

 

A unique structural concept 

 

My unique construction technique is a self-supporting shell construction, and it is similar to the tailor's craftsmanship. Two-dimensional surfaces are sewn into three-dimensional objects. The tailor's fabric is replaced with flexible sheet materials, and the use and work with patterns is just as essential to me as to the tailor. The pattern is both ornament and the constructive borne. A given shape can be rendered not only with one possible pattern, but with several possible ones. My patterns consist of curved vector lines. And between these curved vector lines I create single-curved surfaces by the computer. I use a base pattern to compile the final pattern with which I form my single-curved surfaces. I create the base pattern on and along landscape elements in my given form - such as valleys, ridges, flat areas, etc. Perpendicular to this base pattern I build my final pattern. In fact, the pattern of the Zebra follows its form likewise.

 

In contrast to a straight line, the curves in my patterns give great strength and stability. The elasticity and resilience of the material also contribute to strength as the material bends and achieves rigidity. And last but not least, the precision of the computer and the CNC technology adds to the strength with the pattern of curved lines and with the bent material. The construction principle therefore becomes very strong and stable.

 

Process

 

When I have a sense of the character, function, economy, etc. of a given project, then I prefer to make a stay at the site. Here I try to let my thoughts and information about the project slip into the background to let my intuition and my hands take over by forming one or more model sketches in clay. These clay models I take back to my studio, where I study them and possibly make more models in clay. After preheating the clay models in my ceramic oven, I draw my construction pattern directly on the models. I then continue working with the project digitally. First I 3D scan the clay model and then I build, and eventually modify, my drawn pattern with parametric vector lines in a CAD computer program. Between these vector lines I create single-curved surfaces. The CAD program can unfold these surfaces, and subsequently I can cut out the surfaces with CNC technology in a given sheet material. In principle, I can use all sheet materials that can be bent. When the surfaces are cut, I can bend them and assemble them into spatial structures.

 

Sympathy 

 

Jane Bennett defines sympathy as follows: "Sympathy [is] like a kind of resonance that does not fold together in a simple equality." 1 So something is sent off and comes back in an unequal way. The fact that something is coming back unequal must mean that something else occurs and exists, and then the possibility of relationship and hence belonging must be present - a relationship that can only arise from feelings. In the book The Sympathy of Things, Lars Spuybroek writes “When we see, we see-feel. And when we feel, we feel-think. And when we think we think-act. We orient ourselves by feeling, either in space or in time. All relations are felt relations and therefore relations of Sympathy.” 2 Both Bennett and Spuybroek argue that sympathy is something that happens between humans, and between humans and non-humans, and also between non-humans.

 

Simon Hjermind Jensen

Copenhagen, the 25th of February 2019

 

1. Jane Bennett. Vegatabilt liv og ontoSympati. Oversat til dansk af Henrik Torjusen. S. 6 (Laboratoriet for Æstetik og Økologi, 2018)

2. Lars Spuybroek. The Sympathy of Things. – Ruskin and the Ecology of Design. S. 171 (Rotterdam:V2_Publishing, 2011)

 

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