Edward Linacre, award winning Melbourne based industrial designer, is the co-director of Copper. Through extensive exploration into nature’s structures and geometry, he creates objects that are seemingly complex yet simple to construct, and blur the lines between art, architecture and design.
Lentil’s Didi had the opportunity to sit down with Edward on September 26, 2016, soon after he finished installing the biggest man made bee Nest in the world at Lentil As Anything Abbotsford.
“It comes from nature, it comes from connectivity, the symbology means connection”.
Didi: Why did you decide to design a Nest for Lentil Abbotsford?
Edward: I have a fondness of Lentil, for years, and I feel strongly about Lentil’s philosophy of providing a place where people from all different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds can meet, and also the philosophy of paying what you want. I’ve always admired Lentil and the philosophy of Lentil in that regard, so it was an honor to be asked to design something for Lentil, and that's why I was very excited about this project.
To do an art project, like the Nest, I think is very important because there’s something very important behind the Nest, which fits into Lentil. The reason why it suits Lentil is because it’s based on a sacred geometry. The design of the construction is based on a geometry that comes from many different religions, represented in many different ways in symbology from religions and from nature.
That's why I think the Nest itself is the perfect piece of artwork for Lentil because the symbology behind it is about connectivity and about connecting all things in a circular motion, and that's also inherent in nature. It’s based on toroidal geometry and I think that suits Lentil because you find that the people who come here are more so about community, and more so about connecting with people rather than here for a corporate reason, or here for any other reason.
They’re also here for its sense of community and that's why I think this design is perfect. It comes from nature, it comes from connectivity, the symbology means connection, and something that's based on a natural and sacred geometry is perfect for Lentil and the philosophy of Lentil.
Didi: The name of your artwork is the Nest. Is there a special name for the installation you did at Lentil?
Edward: We could call it the Temple Nest because once we were making it we were thinking, “how big can this go... can we actually make this the size of a temple”? So I think that's important, the idea of the Nest came from what it means – nesting – being underneath something, creating a sense of intimacy, really feeling connected and almost comforted by the Nest.
As you can see, the outside is a less complex geometry. The outside of the shape is more smooth and perfect, but the inside is more complex. This means you are kind of drawn to the inside and that's what I was intending by creating this design – being drawn to the interior, feeling like you are surrounded by its warmth or ensconced by the Nest – and I think that by taking it to the largest scale, taking it as big as you can go, more people can feel that warmth and that's why there’s something beautiful in being underneath it. By making it as big as it can go, more people can feel comforted by it.
“And then I realised this whole structure is as strong as a building, is as strong as a perfect arc or an archway, because of the perfect geometry”.
Didi: The Nest installation at Lentil is the biggest in terms of numbers also.
Edward: I think there are 11 (nests) outside, 4 inside and then 1 big one, so it’s quite large.
Didi: How much does it (the Temple Nest) weigh?
Edward: One person can lift it above their head. The beautiful thing is that the material is 1.5 millimetre bamboo, so it’s extremely thin, extremely strong and flexible. When you link it all together because of the geometry it’s based on a perfect circle, a repeating perfect circle. Because of that geometry the entire structure retains a huge amount of strength. By themselves, they are very weak, stronger than regular timber, but still by themselves they don't retain much strength. But once you weave all this together in this architectural construction it retains a huge amount of strength and that's why you can create such a large feature and keep it very light, as in its only 40 or 35 kilos.
Didi: How did you get the idea for the Nest?
Edward: I started very early on weaving these pieces together and it kind of happened by accident. I wondered once I built one, an earlier version of this maybe 5 years ago, why it was so strong and once I kept on prototyping and putting more pieces together, it became stronger and stronger. And then I realised this whole structure is as strong as a building, is as strong as a perfect arc or an archway, because of the perfect geometry. Because it's a perfect circle, a 360 degree circle, you link a lot of those together and they support each other and you've got a very, very, strong structure. It (the Nest) came out of years of testing and prototyping, and then realising that the reason this certain geometry is used so much in nature is because of that same thing. You can use very little material but achieve a very high strength structure.
Didi: So the idea for the first prototype came from your obsession with geometry?
Edward: It came from my obsession with the Flower of Life, the Taurus, these sacred geometries. By playing with them, drawing them, sketching them, putting them on a computer, creating them into 3D models and then sculpting them. I took geometries and I made them completely different, I made my own geometries, I made them 3 dimensional – not 2 dimensional – on the computer and I really started investigating basket weaving as a way of realising these 3 dimensional models in the physical realm. It was my obsession realising how strong and how special they are through the process, by experimenting for years.
“It connects visually, it connects emotionally when you see sacred geometry and that's why it’s used so much in religion”.
Didi: Flexibility and binding together, I think that's what Lentil is. We have all types of personalities, sometimes people with less strength and less status in society, but together we are strong, together we have made Lentil happen for over 15 years. That's exactly the geometry of Lentil. When we look up into The Nest, we are looking at ourselves.
Didi: The Nest also leads to the creativity of Lentil, a creativity in which you can interpret the art against your own reflection, your own world, and what it means to you.
Edward: Art is there not to tell somebody what it is. Art is there for somebody to be inspired by it or see their own interpretation of it. That's the perfect thing about this (Nest). What is it? What do I get from it? Hopefully, everyone will see themselves in it in a different way.
Didi: I think the Nest really brings a tangible energy to Lentil, so thank you for that.
Edward: It’s very temple-like. It has a similar geometry to Iranian mosque architecture. We have a lot of Instagram followers from all over the world and they keep on saying its like Iranian architecture, and it is. There is something that’s like a temple about it.
Being under a Taurus of that size is very important. If you have a look at sacred geometry that somebody draws, you can see that it’s beautiful, but if you start to mess with sacred geometry, where you get it laser cut to the 1000th of a millimetre perfect, it pops out at you. It's constantly popping out at you, it’s because it's a perfect representation of the geometry and that somehow connects with people. It connects visually, it connects emotionally when you see sacred geometry and that's why it’s used so much in religion.
The geometry comes from nature – when people see that they connect with it – and it has an emotional, or physical, connection of energy. That's why I’m obsessed with it because it's very connecting and it's almost like you see some similarity there or you feel like your looking at something you've seen before.
It's like on a molecular level. Like the nautilus shell has this Fibonacci sequence that is based on a microscopic level and then a galaxy, and it's the same mathematical algorithm. It's a macro, micro, representation of this geometry. Looking at sacred geometry, you have some kind of connection to the molecular world – you have some connection to a geometry that is inside you, something that’s mystical and mysterious.
Images by Alan Turner Photography at Lentil As Anything Abbotsford