Project Zen: The Rope Path

Our creative design exercise, inspired by the forms found in Zen temple gardens, features the use of recyclable materials and construction methods that gently challenge convention…      

In myriad marketplaces the world round, the magic word ‘Zen’ is co-opted to sell anything from bath oil to green tea. But more than just a blissful or calming mood, Zen is a path – a contemplative journey of consciousness transformation. And CDI World’s Project Zen begins there, grounded, literally, in a massive hemp fiber rope-path, eighty-nine ropes wide (each length two inches in diameter), that snakes through the entire installation.

Once visitors pass through an intriguing newsprint-wrapped, Torii-like gate (which also serves as a useful sanitizing station), they step from the mundane realm into a more spiritual one. The durable hemp path, perfectly unharmed by human traffic, draws people into closer contact with the various elements of the installation: rocks and pebbles, a dominant tree, animals, fluted walling, and even a mountainous backdrop – mostly crafted from the packing material we normally associate with all those deliveries from Mr. Bezos.

But let’s get back on our path. One of mankind’s most ancient technologies, hemp rope proves the ideal material, not just for its natural eco-credibility but because of its inherent curvability, perfect for evoking a sense of visual motion. Nodding to the raked gravel commonly seen in Zen gardens, itself indicative of flowing water, the path serves as not only a practical route from which to survey the garden’s delights, but also as an aid to meditation – if you’re so inclined.

The hemp rope path weaves its way around the contemplative space.

Now, you may possibly be asking, how do you persuade a massive swathe of natural fiber to stay where it’s put – especially when it’s being regularly compressed by visiting feet? Fortunately, this is precisely the type of problem that CDI World was born to solve, as Account Service Manager, Zane Hale, explains. “We’d start with a subfloor made of a recyclable sheet material, and have the layout of the rope CNC-routed into the surface. We’d then fix the rope down invisibly with bio-based adhesive and recessed woodscrews.”   

To find out what happens when rope meets rock and to explore the other elements of Project Zen, including its transition from 3D simulation to ‘In Real Life’ form – tune in to the next informative (and wonderfully calming) installment.