An immersive environment shaped by cutting-edge techniques, Flotsam & Jetsam celebrates innovation—and the beach.

As recipients of the 2016 Design Visionary Award, SHoP was given the opportunity to create an installation to serve as the gateway to the annual Design Miami fair. The result was a two-acre landscape of experimentation, inspired in equal parts by the city’s celebrated spirit of play and its less well-known role as an emerging technology hub. Flotsam & Jetsam centered on a pair of pavilions showcasing novel 3D-printing techniques from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Branch Technology. Thornton Tomasetti analyzed the structures, considered at the time to be among the largest 3D-printed objects ever produced. Design and production work across the team was conducted on the Dassault Systèmes 3DExperience platform.

The name is a playful reference to the sea, and a nod to the impermanent nature of the installation. Flotsam is the old nautical term for salvage found floating on the ocean (as in, after a shipwreck). Jetsam is cargo deliberately thrown overboard (as in, to lighten a ship in a storm).
Rudy and Tex, two of the modified industrial robots Branch Technology used to fabricate project components, became honorary members of the team. Each has its own capabilities, characteristics, and constraints, which played a role in shaping the final form. For the project's benches and the center of its hybrid bar structure, we used an experimental material Oak Ridge had recently developed: a sustainably harvested and fully-biodegradable bamboo print medium. Components were produced at ORNL on a large-bed printer, with the largest weighing nearly 700 pounds.

Following its run at the 2016 Design Miami, Flotsam & Jetsam was brought to the Miami Design District, where it was reassembled in Jungle Plaza to serve as a focal point for the farmers market and performances there.

Miles of carbon-fiber reinforced ABS used.

In 2019, components of the structure were relocated to Nairobi, Kenya in conjunction with the United Nations Environmental Assembly. Later, Flotsam & Jetsam moved to a permanent home at the University of Nairobi.

  • phase ongoing
  • size 16,720 sf