Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Religious tolerance as conveyed by the architectural design of Stanley Tigerman

Stanley Tigerman
Inter-faith Chapel Competition, Model, 2004
Painted wood and Styrofoam
Collection of the Art Institute of Chicago
Gift of Stanley Tigerman, 2012.620

This is a piece from the Sharing Space: Creative Intersections in Architecture and Design exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago—the exhibition is on view until August 18, 2013 in Galleries 283–285.

Tigerman’s layout metaphorically suggests gathering around a reflecting pool in a campfire fashion. This circular re-formation centers on love and unity that suggests transformation.

The following is information from the exhibition didactics referencing this work by Tigerman:

Chicago architect Stanley Tigerman is a major figure in postmodern architecture whose projects are always framed and inspired by heady concepts of irony, rupture, humor, and allusion. Since the 1960s, his architectural practice has covered a wide range of territory, from elaborate, yet subversive single-family houses to sensitive designs for disadvantaged children and the homeless. Exquisitely created scale models form an important thread throughout his career and communicate the complex tectonics, colors, and geometries of his work.
Regarding the inter-faith chapel concept, “geometry allows Tigerman to create subtle references to history and cultural practices.… The chapel’s 12 pavilions represent geometric abstractions of traditional religious buildings around the world, aligned around an empty center or universal space to face the correct cardinal directions.”

Read More......

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Chicago Design Museum’s 2013 Pop-up Exhibition “Work at Play”

The entry to the Chicago Design Museum’s 2013 Pop-up Exhibition titled, Work at Play. We had a delightful chat with Stuart Hall, gallery assistant, who stands in the background of this image.
A very interesting design exhibition occurred last month in Chicago. The 2013 Pop-up Exhibition titled Work at Play opened in conjunction with Chicago Design Week and ran for the entire month of June. Block Thirty-Seven, located at 108 North State Street, was the venue for one of Chicago Loop Alliance’s newest Pop-Up Art Loop galleries, a 17,000-square-foot space on the building's third floor. One of the charters of Pop-Up Art Loop is to: “Transform vacant Loop storefronts into vibrant temporary art galleries throughout the year. Taking its name from one of the original 58 city blocks established in 1830, Block Thirty Seven was there at Chicago’s birth. Today it stands as an iconic symbol of Chicago’s future.” The building is a symbol of regeneration and one of Chicago’s newest downtown landmarks.

The premise for the exhibition states, “For many, the compulsion to create is constant. It’s unstoppable. Beyond the hours at the office, we create, we make–we play. In an attempt to find our own voice, we may stumble upon a visual language that can speak for and, perhaps, inspire others. This year, we celebrate the blurred line between work and play.”

Here are a couple of examples from the exhibition:

Matthew Hoffman
Fresh Start/Start Fresh — 2013
44 x 77

Artist statement: “Fresh Start/Start Fresh consists of a rotational two-word ambigram created from a single connecting line. This optical illusion reminds us that every day can be a fresh start.”

Note: Shown above is my test of Matthew’s work where I took the liberty of playing with his word image of “fresh” by rotating and stacking it underneath. —thank you.

Thomas Quinn
Everything We See is a Perspective, Not the Truth — 2013
When viewing at a certain point, the text becomes aligned.

Artist statement: “Anamorphic typography is a special experience in which an arrangement of letters look perfectly set from a single point within a room, while looking wildly distorted from all other points. The message takes this experience and ties it to a larger point about seeing situations from another perspective.”

Read More......

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Piet Zwart and El Lissitzky at “Sharing Space: Creative Intersections in Architecture and Design”

Piet Zwart (Dutch, 1885–1977)
Brochure for Bruynzeel lijstwerk, c. 1935
Tri-folded offset-printed flyer
Frederick W. Renshaw Acquisition Fund Art Institute of Chicago
Bruynzeel’s door and sash, mouldings and frames.
Photograph by versluis (taken through the picture frame glass)

At times it is easy to forget how radical the graphic designs of Piet Zwart and El Lissitzky were for their time.

For many years, beginning in 1930 Piet Zwart worked for the Bruynzeel company. In the beginning Zwart designed their annual calendars and other advertising materials. After a while he also served as an industrial and architectural designer for other products the company produced. In this piece Zwart utilizes scale and color of the hand profile that communicates and correlates handcrafted profiles of the wood mouldings. The black background bridges the negative space, typography, illustrations and photographic images. By highlighting the primary design elements the whole effect becomes very graphic.

A current exhibition at Art Institute of Chicago entitled, Sharing Space: Creative Intersections in Architecture and Design provides an interesting curatorial concept by juxtaposing several categories.

The exhibition statement explains, “In six sections—Color, Geometry, Structures, Hybrid, Surface, and Technology—objects are united by shared goals, strategies, and ideas, rather than by period or media.” The statement go on to say:

From the powerful effect of color to the rigor of geometry, this exhibition mines the permanent collection of the Department of Architecture and Design to reveal common creative concepts and formal strategies across the fields of architecture and design. These projects [such as the one shown above] in the Color section illustrate the diverse ways color can give design objects identity, improve functions, and promote new means of communication.
The piece shown below pertains to the Geometry section in the exhibition. Regarding this work, gallery information reads, “For graphic designers, geometry offers a tool for subverting conventional ideals of composition, as seen in the constructivist book cover design by El Lissitzky for a 1922 publication celebrating art in Russia.”

El Lissitzky (Russian, 1890–1941)
VESHCH = Gegestand = Objet, 1922
Cover design, Periodical
From the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago
Ada Turnbull Hertle Fund, 2009.507
Image from WikiPaintings (I’ve adjusted the color to more resemble the piece in the show)

Read More......

Thursday, July 11, 2013

John Ronan: Perth Amboy High School Project—facilities to facilitate a communal curriculum and program atomism

John Ronan Architects (founded in 1999)
John Ronan (American, born 1963)
Perth Amboy High School, Perth Amboy, New Jersey, Site Model, 2004
Plexiglas and other materials
Permanent collection of the AIC Department of Architecture and Design
Gift of Perth Amboy, New Jersey Board of Education, 2009.7
Photographs by Versluis 2013

This piece by John Ronan, an architectural office based in Chicago, is in the Creative Intersections in Architecture and Design exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. The exhibition is on view until August 18, 2013 in Galleries 283–285. Architect John Ronan develops an intriguing merging of graphic images and color direction within a complex architectural space. Ronan’s design conveys communal unity with harmonized graphics and color program.

Close-up of the model indicating the graphical details. Middle image is courtesy of John Ronan Architects.

All information is taken from exhibition didactics:

In architecture, color is often used to demarcate space or redefine boundaries. John Ronan’s design for Perth Amboy High School utilizes color to identify five towers, each with a distinct program, and give the institution a visual presence in the community. 
John Ronan’s design for Perth Amboy High School blurs the boundaries between the institution and the community it serves. Formally, the design applied three organizational forms: the surface of the site is used for pathways, gathering space, and activities; a series of flexible buildings hold the academic facilities; and colored glass towers with distinct functions—one is, for example, a media center—are shared, with use for the school during the day and the surrounding community in the evening. As the tallest components of the design, the vibrant, translucent colored glass towers provide a signature feature for the structure and connect it visually with the surrounding area, just as its dual-use spaces connect it functionally. The overall complex is an elegant solution that encodes new formal relationships and rethinks the role institutions can play in their neighborhoods.

Read More......

Monday, July 1, 2013

Fabrication is currently in progress for “Enlaced”—a “burning bush” sculpture design by Versluis for Dordt College

Fabrication is currently in progress for Enlaced: a “burning bush” sculpture design
SolidWorks illustration of the red painted version (above) by William Morren
18 feet high x width: 7 feet wide
Seven uprights or fingers allude to the number seven as the biblical symbol for completion and perfection.

Earlier this past May we received the good news from Dordt’s Advancement Office to proceed with the large 18 foot tall sculpture, which had been proposed for the front of Convenant Hall and had been awaiting full funding.  Ideas for the sculpture go back to 2010; Versluis’s proposal was selected and approved in early 2011. Fabrication has begun on the Dordt College East Campus Sculpture.

The fabrication is taking place at D+M Metal Products in Comstock Park, Michigan. D+M Metal has been around since 1946 and provides engineering, fabricating, welding, metal forming, blanking and machining services. The photograph above was taken by D+M co-owner Bob Buist and shows the bottom half of one of the uprights being constructed. As Mies van der Rohe said, “God is in the details” and careful engineering and fabrication have been key elements in the project. The photograph above shows one of the sections being assemble and welded. Notice the construction detail at the foreground indicating the mortise and tenon along with a fish mouth joint (saddle joint) to join the top and bottom sections.

This photograph shows two completed uprights “fingers” placed together.

Read More......