written by:
June 6, 2012

Jenny Wu, a partner at Oyler Wu Collaborative, documents the process from design through fabrication of their latest installation, Screenplay, to be featured at the upcoming Dwell on Design 2012. Part 10: The Final Stretch.

Good news or bad news first?

The good news is that the effect of the silver polypropylene rope looping around the steel frame is as beautiful and intense as we had imagined and, in some ways, even better than we had hoped. The “plane” of rope is becoming incredibly spatial and the steel framework is merging nicely with the rope. The bad news is that we are entirely off of our original schedule.

Here's a close up of the installation.
Here's a close up of the installation.
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We were able to fit all five modules on one platform, so that we can have different teams working on different modules simultaneously.
We were able to fit all five modules on one platform, so that we can have different teams working on different modules simultaneously.
Courtesy of 
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Managing 25 bundles of rope per bay. Photo by Clifford Ho.
Managing 25 bundles of rope per bay. Photo by Clifford Ho.
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Volunteers wear white glove during the process to keep the rope as clean as possible. Photo by Clifford Ho.
Volunteers wear white glove during the process to keep the rope as clean as possible. Photo by Clifford Ho.
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Our new intern hard at work. Photo by Clifford Ho.
Our new intern hard at work. Photo by Clifford Ho.
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Our student volunteers working on a new module. Photo by Clifford Ho.
Our student volunteers working on a new module. Photo by Clifford Ho.
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We frequently check the digital model to make sure that the rope is going the right path. Photo by Clifford Ho.
We frequently check the digital model to make sure that the rope is going the right path. Photo by Clifford Ho.
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The ropes are becoming both planar and spatial!
The ropes are becoming both planar and spatial!
Courtesy of 
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Here's a close up of the installation.
Here's a close up of the installation.

The original goal was to finish the installation two weeks before the actual opening on June 22nd at Dwell on Design. This past week we were able to finish one full module (meaning four bays). This is with five full-time staff working on it every day. Since there are five modules and a bench element, a simple calculation tells us that at the present rate, it would take until July to finish! Yikes!

We were able to fit all five modules on one platform, so that we can have different teams working on different modules simultaneously.
We were able to fit all five modules on one platform, so that we can have different teams working on different modules simultaneously.
Managing 25 bundles of rope per bay. Photo by Clifford Ho.
Managing 25 bundles of rope per bay. Photo by Clifford Ho.
I have come up with a few ways to resolve this problem. The first is to solicit more help as well as working seven days a week. I put out a query through social media for volunteers as well as call-in favors with my former students at Sci-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture) to help out. I was able to get a handful of amazingly dedicated students to come in on the weekend as well as during the week. For that, I’m completely grateful for everyone who has volunteered their time and we hope for more help in the coming weeks.

Volunteers wear white glove during the process to keep the rope as clean as possible. Photo by Clifford Ho.
Volunteers wear white glove during the process to keep the rope as clean as possible. Photo by Clifford Ho.
Our new intern hard at work. Photo by Clifford Ho.
Our new intern hard at work. Photo by Clifford Ho.
The second thing we had to do was streamline a few processes. without rethinking some of our roping strategies, even with the additional help, we may not finish on time. We are now looping 25 pieces of rope at once instead of one rope at a time. We also split the teams from teams of two into teams of one. While it may take a little longer for one person to loop the rope by themselves, it won't take twice as long to do so (there are just some natural inefficiencies when two people are working together).

Lastly, we are using shorter lengths of rope to do the pre-wrapping, mainly the leftover rope from the looping process. The shorter lengths make the bundle of rope that we have to loop around much more manageable, and it also makes for nearly zero waste.

Our student volunteers working on a new module. Photo by Clifford Ho.
Our student volunteers working on a new module. Photo by Clifford Ho.
We frequently check the digital model to make sure that the rope is going the right path. Photo by Clifford Ho.
We frequently check the digital model to make sure that the rope is going the right path. Photo by Clifford Ho.
After implementing these changes, we found that the process sped up significantly. We are determined and committed to finishing this piece so we will continue to adapt and revise our process as we understand how we can do things betters.

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