How can icicles build community?
Weʼve had the privilege of working with San Francisco’s historic Merchants Exchange building annually since 2010. Our love for this building and itʼs people grows with time.
For 2012 we started by asking building occupants to describe the culture of 465 California Street. Our interviews revealed that occupants felt little connection with people who did not work on their floor. We saw this as an opportunity to capitalize on the buildingʼs public space to generate relationships.
Seasonally festive and aesthetically arresting, we transformed the beautiful beaux arts styled atrium and exterior into a dynamic computer controlled light sculpture.
Complete with over 60 giant ‘Lightcicles’ and two life-sized deer, you’re looking at 2,150 Total Control Lighting pixels, arranged in 2 banks of 1,950 x 200 pixels; each bank controlled by an Elite 2K Controller. The Lightcicles served as our devise to visually define a glorious gathering place to engage the buildingʼs community.
In the middle of the design stood two life-sized reindeers that acted as a greeting card station. Supplied with pens, cards and envelopes, the station encouraged building occupants to write a Holiday greeting card to one of the floors in the building that they had never been to. Cards were collected and distributed to floors on a weekly basis for eight weeks. We closed out the installation with follow up interviews. Not surprisingly, occupants reported an increased sense of camaraderie with heretofore strangers.
The final icicle design pays tribute to the classic modern ‘falkland’ lamp designed by Bruno Munari for Danese in 1964. We thought of pushing the idea of employing materials usually used for the textile industry (the lamp was produced in a nylon stocking factory) even further by introducing another element along with the Lycra tubing: the embroidery hoop.
Collaborating with the fantastic folks from Rebar and Funhouse Productions, the project was realized with the mad design skills, professionalism and gusto of Ghigo DiTomasso, Tyler Pew and Benny James who worked through the night to deliver the project on time, and mindfully addressed our clients’ concerns regarding the atrium’s priceless marble floors and million dollar artworks.