Collateral Concepts: A Body Of Work Pt.1

A closer look at Collateral Concepts by Albert Huang.

An auto wreck victim is rushed in by ambulance, an unrecognizable tangle of scalp, flesh and gore exposing his severely-damaged skull beneath. Depressed fractures and breaks along suture lines highlight the structure even more than usual. Although the human body and the intricacies of its anatomy remain an oft-cited source of inspiration for many, few draw inspiration from the immediacy provided by a modern day emergency room. For Albert Huang it is second nature to pull from these experiences, and to evolve and translate them into something tangible. His deep involvement in the medical field and heavy background in research provide Albert with a wealth of insight and ideas to explore with the artisanal line, now in it’s second cycle.

The development process seen in Collateral is rooted in the Scientific Method. Ideas are tested, retested and adjusted before the final result is achieved; many pieces will never leave the drawing board. Trial and error are part and parcel to the final products of this work; patience is key. A prime example of this process would be the anatomic hooded jacket from the project's second iteration. The piece underwent 3 major evolutions, 15 fine tunings of the hood and 4 fittings before the final result was achieved, with each step requiring reconstructing the garment, the hood and then adjusting/readjusting.

The inspiration behind this particular design came in part from a fascination with the kinetics of blows and energy transfer around the skull. Both the overall strength of the skull and the weak points in the bone helped shape the structure of the jacket's hood. To create the upper body aspects of the jacket, the pattern was built on the designer's body, first through thin plastic moulding of his head, neck and shoulders and then sectioned into the pattern pieces, ensuring the desired form. The interior and exterior portions of this garment were created by studying cranial anatomy and developing an abstract central nervous system representation. The seams on the hood approximate the natural sutures of the skull, and the way the pieces come together generates a wrapping, protective effect on the back of the head. Both the outer and the inner part of the garment's design and construction are given equal importance, so that in addition to an aesthetically-pleasing exterior the garment will also have interior details intended just for the wearer. One such detail is a custom-made batik created to generate a 'neural network' pattern used in aspects of the lining. The end result is thus new, yet perfectly natural in the way it fits the wearer.

Many of the designs which do ultimately develop into complete works come effortlessly, with their beginnings stemming from muscle contractions, blood circulation, nerve pathways and the suture lines of the skull. These beautiful, natural lines which can be interpreted into seams and construction represent the idea behind Collateral: to explore what is already there, waiting to be brought out of the body and ever-closer to the wearer; a virtual and literal second-skin - something which evokes a sense of familiarity despite being previously unseen..

~Q. Andrisson