To create KnitCandela, the first step in the KnitCrete process is to weave two miles of yarn into four strips. The fabric is produced in just 36 hours using digital manufacturing technology and is packed in a suitcase before being shipped from Switzerland to Mexico.
Once they reached the MUAC in Mexico City, the double fabric strip was suspended from the wooden frame. From there, the team inserted about 1,000 modeling balloons between the fabric layers until the desired shape was formed. The exterior is then covered with a special cement slurry to turn the pavilion into a rigid structure.
The textile strip is equipped with components that make it easier to control the shape of the balloon after insertion and inflation. Once the structure is poured into the concrete, the air pocket forms a waffle shell shape. The colorful stripe fabric drapes beneath the structure, evoking free-flowing pleats, similar to traditional Mexican Jalisco clothing.
The KnitCrete process is unique in that it combines digital production with traditional construction methods. Although the fabric is woven using 3D knit textile technology, concrete is added by hand.
Although KnitCandela may be the largest structure created by the Zaha Hadid team using 3D technology, it is far from being the first to enter this type of manufacturing. Last year, we also saw design companies showcased stylish 3D printed chairs at the Milan Design Week, as well as the New York City apartment-style H-Line hat.