Working the Land: “Light Touch” installation by Haptic Architects

by Valentina Ieva
1 Love 1855 Visits

Working the Land presents the recent work of Haptic Architects and provides an insight into the practice’s ethos, to work carefully and strategically with the site context, whilst focusing on materiality and craftsmanship.


Haptic is a London and Oslo based architectural studio, established in 2009.  Our designs are conceptually driven, inspired by nature and formed through a critical, iterative design process. 

A strong emphasis is given to user experience; how one interacts with the buildings and spaces.  The term “Haptic” refers to the sense of touch.  We believe a shift from the optical to the haptical is a move that benefits the users of our buildings. 

Haptic are currently working on a wide range of building typologies. These include airports, hotel and conferencing facilities, urban design and mixed-use residential, exhibition spaces and private dwellings.  Presented here is cross-section of projects, at early stages to completed works.

The installation “Light Touch” takes its inspiration from the dramatic natural lighting conditions found in the Norwegian landscapes.  The slatted timber box draws from vernacular architecture and the way in which the low-lying sunlight filters through the forests, whilst providing a tranquil breakout space for Buro Happold and visitors.  

The precise nature of the installation, with every two intersecting pieces having multiple finger joints, held together by friction, took a large team effort, working to very fine tolerances.  The black mdf was CNC-milled, whilst all interfaces with the kinetic mechanism had to be finalised in the workshop.  The piece was installed in confined conditions and proved a logistical challenge, in terms of assembly, moving pieces into position and fixing.  

"Next time we'll add a 0.2mm tolerance to the grooves" says Haptic Director Nikki Butenschøn, "It took three grown men with an artillery of mallets to pound the damn slats into submission.  But hey, we got it done. What have we learned? To be more forgiving of cabinet makers errors".

The exhibition is on at Buro Happolds lobby exhibition space in 17 Newman street until March 16th.

Watch the video of installation

Photo Credits: Simon Kennedy


    • Valentina Ieva

      Valentina Ieva


      Bari / Italy

      Laureata in Ingegneria edile-architettura, giornalista per professione, web writer per diletto. Amante di architettura, design, fotografia e libri di carta. Dipendente dai social, Instagram e InstaStories su tutti. Affamata di vita, viaggi e storie da scoprire. Qualunque forma d'arte mi affascina da sempre e non posso pensare una vita senza: emozioni forti, immaginazione, buona musica, cucina pugliese, sole e gatti. Per dirla con le parole di Battiato, non potrei vivere senza: ‘un soffio al)