“I disobey the notion that in an era of vast technological and computational capacity, we architect our matter to be static; to be a rigid "shelter" for the human body, disparate from its boundless mind and existence within nature’s ecosystem."
Studio INI was founded in 2015 between Athens and London by engineer and artist Nassia Inglessis as an experimental studio that couples scientific research with public engagement. The studio creates human-actuated installations that belong to what Nassia calls an “augmented materiality.” She coined this term to study matter in the context of cognition and to seamlessly connect our physical built environment with human perception and response. She steps away from digital simulations into material augmentations instead, which address our need for transformation and evolution. Employing automation, computation, and digital tools the studio crafts traditional matter into kinetic installations of architectural scale that expand the materials’ and structures’ capacity to transform; she erects walls and spaces that elastically flex, deconstruct, and reconstruct, as a physical megaphone to the visitors’ movements. Her entirely human-actuated creations do not prescribe form and function, allowing people to stretch the limits of her work further, sometimes in completely unexpected ways.
With a technical foundation in engineering science at Oxford University and training in art and design at the Royal College of Art and MIT Media Lab, Nassia is naturally driven to address technology as τέχνη (techni)—art /skill, and λογία (logia)—reason/science. She seeks to contextualize scientific and empirical research in her art, in order to challenge predefined ideals and inspire new perspectives and prototypes of behavior.
Studio INI’s work Disobedience, exhibited in the courtyard of Somerset House, was a highlight of the 2018 London Design Biennale. It continued its journey across the globe to India and the Middle East, alongside a series of performances choreographed in collaboration with the producer of Akram Khan Company. Her work has been included in group exhibitions around the world, including the Victoria and Albert Museum (2017) and the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2018). In the summer of 2019, Studio INI created a performative sculpture, Urban Imprint, in the context of a residency at A/D/O in Brooklyn New York, which concluded with a three-part dance series by choreographer Damani Pompei, furthering the idea that the body can transform the architecture it inhabits.