This decentralized firm has offices in four cities (Los Angeles, Zurich, Stockholm, New York), in three countries and on two continents. The four associates (David Erdman, Marcelyn Gow, Ulrika Karlsson, Chris Perry) of Servo, founded in 1999, all graduated from Columbia University in New York. The name ‘Servo’ is a reference to a system currently used in the field of cybernetics, the servomotor, which is a data feedback device integrated into a larger system of command controls. The firm develops its practice based on its thinking about and analyses of new processes of fabrication associated with interactive technologies. The results of their research lead to the creation of “product lines” specifically developed for each city in which the members operate: the Nurbline, Speeline, Cloudline are product lines produced on many different scales, from the modular unit to the interactive environment. Engaging the entire body in a multi-sensorial experience of reality, Servo seeks to place the user in tension between physical and virtual space. Thus, their interactive structures, Thermocline (2002), In the Lattice (2002), and their environments, Lattice Archipelogics (2002), Lobbi Ports (2002) can all continuously take account of elastic space. Servo has developed its product lines based on analysis of the processes of customization, where in each line is defined by the implementation of a pattern, which is adjusted to different scales, which in turn depend on various uses. The underlying principle consists of articulating the standardization of the production and variation of forms. Several actors simultaneously operate on this fundamentally “elastic” basis, thereby eliminating the notion of a single project author, as the lines obtained through this process are the sum of plural interventions.
Associates David Erdman (Los Angeles), Marcelyn Gow (Zurich), Ulrika Karlsson (Stockholm), Chris Perry (New York) all graduated from Columbia University, in architecture and/or sciences. In addition to their research work, they all teach: the first two at UCLA, the third at the Royal Institute of technology in Stockholm and the last at Columbia University. Their work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions (e.g. the Venice Biennale, 2004) and publications (10x10_2, Ed. Phaidon Press, 2005). Chris Perry is also the cofounder of the Responsive Systems Group, a cross-disciplinary research organization focused on technological and cultural design, whose work was featured in 2006 at the Beijing biennale. His papers are regularly published in catalogs and architecture magazines (Yale Perspecta, Architectural Design). He also co-published Collective Intelligence in Design (AD, 2006).