Carlos Bañón, Assistant Professor at SUTD, Director and Co-founder of AirLab Singapore

Carlos Bañón is the man behind the award-winning AirMesh Pavilion, which has also been awarded the Singapore President*s Design Award 2020. The hybrid 3D printing technology behind it is a game changer, according to him, as it automates the design and fabrication process, and removes the constraints of conventional 3D printing techniques.

An architect specialising in digital design and advanced manufacturing methods within the built environment, Bañón is Director and Co-founder of AirLab Singapore, Principal and Co-founder of Subarquitectura Architects, and Assistant Professor of Architecture and Sustainable Design at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). He also previously held visiting professorships at various international institutions, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). His research projects include architectural tectonics with additive manufacturing; material efficiency and structural performance methods; design for the circular economy; and geometric exploration for sustainable space making. His works have been recognised both locally and internationally, such as by the London Design Museum, Mies van der Rohe Prize Nomination, German Design Award and Singapore Good Design Awards.

AirMesh Pavilion; image by AirLab

How scalable is the technology behind AirMesh Pavilion? How can this help shape the future of construction?

The AirMesh is not a one-off pavilion. To conceive it, we developed a robust design-to-fabrication workflow for more than five years that can be used across materials and scales for any possible form. It redefines bottom-up design and manufacturing of space frame structures—which is a well-established typology in construction—by introducing additive manufacturing of complex components. We initially tested it at a furniture scale in the AirTable project, achieving incredible performance and seamless aesthetics using very slender parts. Then, we scaled the concept to a pavilion in the AirMesh project, developing a concealed easy-to-assemble connection system, even by non-trained workers. It is an absolute game-changer in the way that stainless-steel structures are designed, manufactured and assembled.

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