CARBS – Concrete Kinetics

Three phases of choreographed demonstrations and discussions

Matter Design, Boston with CEMEX Global R&D, Brügg b. Biel

Three Online Events 





Press Release [663.7 KB]


Aedes Cooperation Partners


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  • © Matter Design and CEMEX Global R&D

CARBS – Concrete Kinetics is presented as a digital forum consisting of a series of three online events and including introductions from Matter Design, demonstrations from Cemex and discussions at ANCB The Aedes Metropolitan Laboratory in Berlin. With Gabriele Brandstetter, Elke Buhr, Roger Bundschuh, Brandon Clifford, Lukas Feireiss, Franka Marlene Foth, Werner Frosch, Kaye Geipel, Alicja Kwade, Rasa Weber, Matthias Wemhoff, Davide Zampini. All events will be live-streamed and also be available as edited videos on the Aedes website from 1 March 2021.

CARBS is a choreographed demonstration of megalithic elements made from concrete. Although weighing between 400 and 1800 kg, the Massive Concrete Masonry Units (MCMUs) are designed to be manipulated by a single person – they sway and roll as they are walked around or joined together like a huge 3D jigsaw puzzle with very little energy. This megalithic process of construction aims to change the energy input from fossil fuels to carbohydrates (CARBS) as humans more intimately facilitate the construction process. Conceptualised, designed and developed by the Boston based firm Matter Design in collaboration with Cemex Global Research & Design (R&D), this poetic and experimental choreography explores the physical potential of human interaction with innovative concrete technology and ancient transportation methods of megalithic structures. CARBS is both a breath-taking demonstration and digital forum about the potentials of physically engaging with mass, material and movement. In a series of recordings the concrete units are presented in three phases: Scatter, Assemble and Split. Each phase includes a recorded demonstration and a discussion on creative research, sustainability, balance, performance and innovation. This online programme manifests the potentials of collaboration between industry and culture, between Matter Design, Cemex Global R&D and Aedes, and underlines the importance of experimental research and transdisciplinary partnership in innovation.

Walking Assembly © Matter Design and Cemex Global R&D

Within building and urban planning, the architectural profession explores the reciprocal relationship between design, technology and materials in order to advance the knowledge of constructing. With this, the US design research firm Matter Design looks at the engineering of the architectural wonders of the ancient world, such as the Moai Statues on Easter Island or Inca stonework in Cuzco, to create something for the future. Led by director and co-founder Brandon Clifford, Matter Design has been developing with Cemex Global R&D team, led by Davide Zampini, large and complex construction choreographies that engage material as well as human bodies in the built architecture. The collaboration between Matter Design and Cemex Global R&D, consisting of scientists, engineers, architects, anthropologists and business professionals, showcases eight pieces in Walking Assembly and a pair of two interlocking forms called Patty & Jan.

Massive Concrete Masonry Units: Walking Assembly and Patty & Jan
The Massive Concrete Masonry Units (MCMU) are a puzzle-like construction technique that consists of eight interlocking pieces made out of variable density concrete. Known as the Walking Assembly, each MCMU has rounded edges so the units can be easily rocked, tilted and rolled into place. A weighted tool can be inserted and removed in order to change the movement behaviour by shifting the centre of mass. Patty & Jan are two MCMUs that resemble the letters “P“ and “J“. The duo are also made with variable density concrete, which allows them to balance and bounce into one another as they automatically assemble. With this performative engagement Patty & Jan prove the flexibility of concrete material and ask what kinds of architecture could emerge by revisiting the act of construction.

Demonstrations and Discussions
CARBS – Concrete Kinetics playfully presents us with the moving character of massive construction elements. In three recorded demonstrations, Walking Assembly and Patty & Jan are engaged at a human scale, showcasing their unique characteristics. The demonstrations will physically transform and engage an architectural scale. Coinciding with the demonstrations, discussions can be seen via live-stream on the Aedes website. Speakers from various fields and disciplines will discuss the architectural, economic, physical and social implications of the MCMU.
Since its founding 40 years ago, the Aedes Architecture Forum continues to present young and innovative spatial practices through exhibitions, publications, research and debates. With this notion, Aedes moves beyond traditional architectural topics constantly emphasising the importance of transdisciplinary discourse. The collaborative partnership between Cemex Global R&D and Matter Design highlights this dialogue and simultaneously opens new doors for ideas to be explored.


Phase I
Date: Thursday, 4 February 2021, 4.30pm (CET)
Language: English
Live-Stream: Aedes Facebook

Hans-Jürgen Commerell, Director, ANCB The Aedes Metropolitan Laboratory, Berlin
Davide Zampini, Head of Cemex Global R&D and IP Management, Switzerland
Brandon Clifford, Director and Co-founder of Matter Design, Boston

Franka Marlene Foth, Choreographer and Performance Curator, Berlin
Alicja Kwade, Conceptual Artist, Berlin
Roger Bundschuh, Architect, Berlin
Moderated by Lukas Feireiss, Curator, Writer and Educator, Berlinallowfullscreen

Phase II
Date: Friday, 12 February 2021, 6pm (CET)
Language: English
Live-Stream: Aedes-Facebook

Davide Zampini, Head of Cemex Global R&D and IP Management, Switzerland
Brandon Clifford, Director and Co-founder of Matter Design, Boston

Matthias Wemhoff, Archaeologist and Director at the Museum of Prehistory and Early History at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Werner Frosch, Partner and Managing Director of Henning Larsen Architects, Munich
Moderated by Elke Buhr, Chief Editor of Monopol, Berlin

Phase III
Date: Friday, 26 February 2021, (CET)
Language: English
Live-Stream: Aedes Facebook

Davide Zampini, Head of Cemex Global R&D and IP Management, Switzerland
Brandon Clifford, Director and Co-founder of Matter Design, Boston

Gabriele Brandstetter, Professor of Theatre and Dance Studies at Freie Universität Berlin and Co-director of the International Research Centre “Interweaving Performance Cultures”, Berlin 
Rasa Weber, Designer and Co-founder of They Feed Off Buildings, a design and architecture collective from Berlin
Moderated by Kaye Geipel, Architecture Critic, Bauwelt, Berlin

We would like to thank

CEMEX Global R&D
Davide Zampini - Global R&D Head
Alexandre Guerini - Products Development & Industrialization Director
Carlos Enrique Terrado - R&D Business Development Manager
Matthew John Meyers - Materials and Products Design Specialist
Valentina Rizzo - Visual Communication & Design Analyst
CEMEX Germany
Alexandra Decker - Manager Public Affairs Germany & Central Europe
Matter Design
Brandon Clifford - Director, Co-founder
Tyler Swingle - Research Lead
Tizia Sansonnens, Biel/Bienne Rythmician
Laure Jolissaint, Biel/Bienne - Visual and Performance Artist

Thank you to CEMEX for the generous support