Skylar Tibbits, assistant professor and co-director of the Self-Assembly Lab, was featured in the New York Times' Magazine "Look Again" as one of six designers taking on some of the world's toughest redesign challenges. Working with Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator at the Museum of Modern Art, the NYT Magazine approached six designers to reimagine objects that are both deeply embedded in everyday life but also suffer from fundamental design flaws. Tibbits challenges the traditional design of cell towers, which are often either an eyesore or poorly camouflaged in a natural landscape.
Tibbits' proposal for a new cell tower infrastructure builds on the Self-Assembly Lab's previous work with biaxially braided composite tubes as a programmable building material that reacts to its environment. This structure would adjust to weather, time of day, or nearby events by bulging and bending "like a large puppet." It would provide both flexibility, stability, and an "aesthetic of movement" to a utility infrastructure that will likely continue to populate the country as dependence on mobile data grows.
Tibbits was recently named R&D Magazine's 2015 Innovator of the Year, 2015 National Geographic Emerging Explorer, 2014 Inaugural WIRED Fellow, 2014 Gifted Citizen, 2013 Fast Company Innovation by Design Award, 2013 Architectural League Prize, The Next Idea Award at Ars Electronica 2013, Visionary Innovation Award at the Manufacturing Leadership Summit, 2012 TED Senior Fellow and was named a Revolutionary Mind in SEED Magazine’s 2008 Design Issue.
Further information on the Self-Assembly Lab can be found at www.selfassemblylab.net.