Seen Unseen

Designed for the Architectural Association, this piece – which originally appeared in Grafik 165 – introduces L.A.W.U.N.#19, the publication designed by Zak Kyes in collaboration with Archigram co-founder David Greene.

Large spreads

The first of Archigram co-founder, architect and educator David Greene’s Locally Available World Unseen Networks projects was born in 1967, at the height of his fascination with the implications of machinery and new technology on architectural practice. L.A.W.U.N. #1, An Experimental Bottery, imagined service points disguised as rocks and logs, able to supply utilities in the natural landscape, thus allowing people to live in nomadic pods and creating a global network of transient architecture. Greene’s increasingly postmodern approach to architectural practice has since spawned countless projects, ideas and plans adhering to his idiosyncratic brand of “invisible architecture”, many of which have formed the basis for L.A.W.U.N. Project #19. Essentially a portfolio or scrapbook spanning fifty years of Greene’s inspirations and visions (both realised and fantasised), Project #19 goes hand in hand with an exhibition at the AA (L.A.W.U.N.Project #20), whereby Greene has invited a number of designers to revisit his projects in the context of contemporary construction and digital technologies.

Designed by AA art director Zak Kyes in collaboration with editors Greene and fellow architect and AA tutor Samantha Hardingham, L.A.W.U.N.#19 and its eclectic contents have come to take the form of a 280-page publication built to resemble the classic American school exercise book and stuffed to the hard covers with different paper stocks, type treatments and print techniques.“The strategy for the book was to constantly work with a dummy which could be edited, torn apart, reassembled, and annotated – forming the content and object simultaneously,” explains Kyes.

Divided into three sections – inspirational ephemera (newspaper clippings, car magazines and mail-order catalogues); invited essays and projects; and reworkings of old and new projects – L.A.W.U.N. #19 also comes with three large fold-out posters, two of which treat unsuspecting readers to a life-size rendering (in halves) of a nude photocopied montage of Greene’s body. With his modesty protected by a note to fellow Archigram founder Warren Chalk, it seems this eerie self-portrait is the key to Greene’s love affair with technology and, once assembled, reveals the reasoning behind his striving for a formless architecture.

L.A.W.U.N* Project #19

Download the original feature here