Kaleidosculpture

Seattle, Washington

Project Status:

Completed 2016

Collaborators:

Paulina Wilkowska

Toby Peterson

Renzo Di Furia, Sean Beatty, Joshua Lohr (Turner Construction)

DCG One

Responding to the “Design Change” theme of the 2016 Seattle Design Festival, 26 teams created interactive pavilions for the 2-day Block Party held in Occidental Park, ranging from whimsical expressions of form and materiality, to experimentation with technology, to conversation starters about housing and environmental issues. Designers from LMN contributed 4 projects, each working in collaboration with a multi-disciplinary team of designers and builders. Below, Paulina Wilkowska discusses the making of Kaleidosculpture — a poetic meditation space that immerses visitors in a transformative experience of light and color. Also check out Grover, RainSound Experience, and REVOLUTION in this series.

Describe the concept of the piece in your own words.

The concept of the installation was to frame the relationship that begets change, so in this case between action (cause) and result (effect) vis-a-vis a kinetic facade. The installation expresses this relationship by using the probable wind, rain, light, people (causes) to activate the motion, reflection, color composition and profile of the kinetic acrylic “skin.” Given the “design is change” theme of the festival – we also wanted to demonstrate the possibilities for how emerging construction methods (3d printing, CNC, laser cut) can change the shape and the form of our built environment and bring that possibility to the forefront of people’s minds.

We chose the A-frame as the structure because it is timeless, inexpensive and easily adaptable. You see it in all types of buildings – schools, chapels, summer cabins, and it’s an easily recognizable and relatable structure for people. Its skin can be easily dressed. The frame is the reusable armature to which a flexible façade can be attached, and tested upon. So we chose to juxtapose a classic form constructed via traditional carpentry against a 3D printed skin to articulate the changing aesthetics, methods and materials of design and construction.

We wanted to provide a resting spot along the SDF route that was playful, relatable and one that would evoke delight and curiosity.

What was your favorite part of the project?

My favorite part of the project was realizing how the collaboration amongst our team actively evolved our design. One example is how some of the 3D pieces were crowd sourced from other 3D printers around the country. That was something Renzo came up with and saw through as a method to completing our structure. We also had a much more complex idea initially and working together to refine and purify the design was a pleasant exercise in activating our team’s personal interests and leveraging connections, expertise and action.

What was the worst part, were you ever nervous putting this together?

Most challenging but also thrilling was having to adapt our design on the fly as our design came together. It required at times for us to respond in unexpected directions. With a traditional project, it seems you have to stay ahead of the “boulder” – with something like an art installation, an idea can morph and be passed around and shaped in a different way because it serves a different purpose. Intellectually that “playing with an idea” is challenging but also allows for a lot of experimentation.

What is one thing you hope people get out of experiencing the installation?

I would hope that people were delighted, made happy with basking in the interplay of color, light and motion. I hope that people would walk away feeling more comfortable looking at something surrounding them and feeling free to imagine it, question it and share their ideas with others.

What will you take away from this process?

What I took away from this process is a further nurtured perspective on what it takes to bring something together and realize it. I really value the relationships that these types of project spawn, because for each of us, some part of this becomes a personal project of passion. Every time I work on an art installation or small structure, I am amazed to see how others working on it help it come along, how they invest and what they bring to the table. I’m taking away increased energy and confidence to continue to pursue these types of projects/installations in the future.