The architecture of Niccolo Casas has been largely engaged with the idea of decadence, and in particular with the process of Catabiosis, which concerns the aspects of growing older, aging and physical degradation. Casas explains,
Decadence is a process of disintegration of the whole where the particular acquires autonomy and incrementation of visibility by shirking from the functional subordination of the whole. It is about the process of decomposition of an organism, of a society or a culture and, more generally, it concerns the process of fragmentation of a system of relations.
It is within this process of fragmentation of a given system that Casas researches what he calls a potential aesthetic of (high) entropy. At the core of this search, we find the belief that in the dynamic transitions that take place within decadence, there is the very seed for renewal.
Casas’ design efforts are thus focused on exploring the possibilities of simulating the process of decadence, which he currently carries out through the manipulation fractal geometries. For Casas, if we consider decadence as a state of dynamic transition leading to the fragmentation of the whole, it is the fractal geometry that articulates this process.
To develop his research Casas makes use of state-of-the-art computation, which allows him to calculate the infinite process of self-similar repetition characteristic of fractal geometries and to simulate the development of these theoretically endless shapes that only computers can reproduce. Furthermore, the use of computer aided manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing have allowed Casas not only to materialize his research, but also to slowly overcome the state of experimentation.
A current testing ground for Casas has been the clothing industry, where he has arrived to through collaborations with fashion and product designers who have given their industries’ first steps in the use of 3D printing. In this respect, Casas’ ventures join the broader contemporary design avant-garde practice where the use of 3D printing as manufacturing technique has bridged disciplines that were once apart.
Disciplines are merging and reconfiguring thanks to emerging of new technologies, this allows for highly fertile and productive multidisciplinary approaches to take place. In this context, Architects often operate in roles once considered far from the discipline; the advantage is that they develop new skills, knowledge and aesthetic sensitivities, Casas points out.
In particular, Casas’ incursion within the fashion industry has provided him with a testing scale for architecture, the body, and as counterpart his projects open up questions about the scale and nature of architecture. In communication with Casas he emphasises the unpredictability of research; in fact, what these skins and their embedded logic can bring to the materialization of our future environments is still uncertain. However, we look very much forward to see.