Funicular Folly
Frame, Support

The unique dimensional stability of MEDITE TRICOYA EXTREME (MTX) allowed it to be used in the construction process of the “Funicular Folly” – an artwork by award-winning architect Rae Moore whose inspiration is the capacity for architecture to ‘subvert everyday norms’.   

The Solution

Unveiled at this year’s Body and Soul Festival in the grounds of Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath, this graceful yet complex domed installation was constructed out of brick using the MTX durable MDF material as supporting framework: designed with digital precision and removed once the brickwork was complete.

MTX from MEDITE SMARTPLY was the logical choice for this precise frame as it is not only easy to work into the exact shape required but also, unlike timber or traditional MDF alternatives, it will not swell, warp or shrink when exposed to wet conditions. The artist could be assured that the sinuous curves of the framework remained absolutely stable throughout the construction process.

Situated within mature woodland, the “Funicular Folly” supports the ethos of the Festival, encouraging attendees to “subvert everyday norms and enter an otherworldly realm”. The name “funicular” refers to form which achieves perfect structural equilibrium. A funicular form is the natural shape which any material will take under the force of gravity – think of a chain hanging between two posts - in a graceful curve. Thin layers of brick and cement were added onto the MTX frame to make a cohesive, self-supporting shell.  Finally, the frame was removed to reveal the slender freestanding canopy.

The Result

“We were delighted to find our MTX panels being used for such a creative project” said Stuart Devoil, Head of Marketing and Brand at MEDITE SMARTPLY. “The finished design is an incredible addition to the woodland environment that really challenges what might traditionally be thought possible with brickwork and architectural design.

“It also provides an unexpectedly dramatic way to demonstrate the characteristics that make MTX such a unique MDF product. It was the only option to provide the intricate design required within the unpredictable weather of an Irish summer.”

Standing three metres high at its tallest point, the Funicular Folly is a spectacular testimony to architectural design’s ability to challenge conventions, push boundaries and transform how we think and feel about space and our environment. It has outlived the festival weekend and will remain in the woods at Ballinlough for many years to come.

Client Comment

“This is an opportunity to present something to people that they find totally unexpected,” said Rae Moore. “The idea was to demonstrate the joy of architecture within a cultural setting, free from the commercial constraints of contemporary construction.

“MEDITE SMARTPLY was the ideal material for the folly formwork – the project wouldn’t have been possible without the incredible support of Stuart and his team.”