The word cielo translates to sky, ceiling, canopy, or heavens in Spanish and Italian. It is also used to describe clouds and other atmospheric elements. I've always been fascinated by clouds: they have both a visual weight and a sense of buoyancy. They create atmosphere in both the literal and figurative senses, establishing microclimates of light, heat, and moisture while also setting a mood for the areas under and around them. Clouds inspire daydreaming and creativity--who hasn't laid in the grass looking up at the sky, contemplating life and discovering animals in the clouds? I think a major reason for this is the fact that the sky is constantly changing, often imperceptibly, and we see something new every time we look up.
This project was inspired by the space between the many meanings of cielo. My goal was to construct a "cloud" that could create its own atmosphere, and encourage contemplation and daydreaming.
Cielo is constructed primarily of custom expanded aluminum, created by cutting slits in a carefully arranged pattern on a flat sheet, then applying force to form it into a three-dimensional volume. When a flat sheet gets expanded, it creates a volumetric lattice consisting of hundreds of tiny folds, which gives the expanded volume great strength in multiple directions. Best of all, this is a zero waste process in which no material is discarded (in contrast to a perforated sheet, which wastes material and weakens the sheet). In fact, when you consider that you're increasing the perceived surface area of the original sheet by 25-50%, you could argue it's sub zero waste! Structure, volume, and opening are all interdependent.