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Beneath the Surface Blog

Thursday Salute to Originals: Chain Link Dreamscape

GPI Design - Thursday, July 18, 2013

They say all that glitters is not gold. But in this case, all that glitters is a chain link fence and some plastic. Intrigued? So were we!

The art installation Unwoven Light by Soo Sunny Park combines completely unglamorous and totally utilitarian chain link fence with filmed Plexiglas to create an absolutely stunning and constantly morphing experience of color, light, shadow, and form.

Unwoven Light Installation Art by Soo Sunny Park

Meticulously wired between openings of suspended chain link fence, thousands of iridescent Plexiglas pieces refract light at limitless angles, bouncing brilliant streaks of hue, illumination, and shadow around the space. As lighting and your position shifts through the undulating forms, so does the visual experience, encapsulating the room and viewers in a surreal and ever-changing array of sparkles.

Reminiscent of glimmering fish scales or iridescent butterfly wings, this dynamic blend of color and light seems almost fairytale-like as the twinkling sculpture projects a hypnotic ebb and flow of rainbowed illumination. For recognizing and revealing the transient power of color and light, we salute Soo Sunny Park's beautifully airy and whimsical installation. Sometimes, everything is better with a little glitter!

Image credits: Soo Sunny Park, Design MilkInternational Sculpture Center

Thursday Salute to Originals - Fashion Worth Staring At

GPI Design - Thursday, July 11, 2013

Even though its summer, it’s been pretty gloomy at our Westlake office lately. All the clouds, rain, and lack of sun are making us a little drowsy; and we’ll admit, we’ve even caught ourselves staring from time to time.

Normally, staring doesn’t accomplish much; fixating your gaze on an object isn’t usually the most effective means of getting things done. (And it certainly isn’t the most proactive pastime when things are as busy as they are around here!) So we were quite intrigued when we stumbled upon a dress that is “activated” just by your stare. Staring can actually accomplish something? We could barely believe our eyes!

Image credit: Ying Gao

Made of super organza and photoluminescent thread, Ying Gao’s (No)Where (Now)Here dresses track eye movement and brighten and pulsate with contact from your peepers. Simply staring at the dress activates the textile, making threads dance and illuminate in a dream-like (and kind of creepy) chorus of movement and light. Never has your gaze been so powerful! (Imagine if staring at piles of shop drawings worked the same way...)

Watch the clip below and see for yourself as these gowns come to life with just with a simple stare.

(no)where(now)here : 2 gaze-activated dresses by ying gao on Vimeo.

How could this concept translate further into the world of architecture and interior design? We think the possibilities for surface design could be endless!

Thursday Salute to Originals – The Red, White, and 70075?

GPI Design - Thursday, July 04, 2013

Emerald Green might be the Pantone Color of 2013, but today, America’s birthday, its all about the red, white, and blue – or more specifically, the 70180, 70001, and 70075.

Yep, that’s right. Like many things in the design world, the American flag has its own specific set of designated colors. The Color Association of the United States, from which the American Government references and specifies colors of the flag, has designated the colors of Old Glory as:

  • Cable No. 70180 - Old Glory Red
  • Cable No. 70001 - White
  • Cable No. 70075 - Old Glory Blue

While these colors are deemed the “official” hues of the flag by the Government, they aren’t the only tones used. The U.S. Government designates 193 and 282 as the Pantone equivalents for the red and blue of the flag. However, other sources, including many printing organizations, specify Pantone 186 and 288 as the patriotic red and blue. Pantone 281 is also frequently used.

So however you celebrate the Fourth of July this year (and whatever color you choose!) enjoy your freedoms and keep your eye on that Grand Old Flag!

Image created/compiled by GPI Design using flag image source

Thursday Salute to Originals: Toying with Material

GPI Design - Thursday, June 27, 2013

As architecture trends towards revealing the inherent origin of materials and their processes, this modern artist defies expectation by doing exactly the opposite. Meet Jeff Koons, an artist from New York who makes granite look like plastic, plaster look like metal, and metal look like a stretched balloon.

Jeff Koons Balloon Inflatable Pop Art

In one avenue of his work, Jeff Koons replicates inflatable objects.  What may appear as cheap plastic decorations are actually made from solid, heavy materials such as granite and plaster. Sculpting the dense media into objects that appear as light at balloons, Jeff plays on your predetermined notions of materiality. In his dissociative works, he substitutes surface in order to block out meaning; Koons keeps the artistic discourse and interpretation to a minimum, letting the consumption of his pieces tell the story.

“One of the main reasons that I work with inflatables is that the aspect of inside/outside—if you look at an inflatable and you think about it, it seems very empty inside,” Koons tells me. “Oh, it’s air in there, so it’s empty. But that moment that your exterior space around you feels denser, it gives you more of a sense of confidence in the world. You think about your own inside. It’s denser. It’s blood, it’s guts, it’s tissue. And so if you’re not around that concept of the inflatable, it’s more of a void out there. Okay? It’s denser inside here than outside. It’s vacuums. But when you’re experiencing an inflatable, for that time, it’s vacuous inside that object and it’s empty inside.” (source: Vulture)

Jeff Koons Art Hybrid Balloon Animals

Koons Yellow Rabbit Metal Twisted Balloon Sculpture

[Balloon animals made with high chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating]

Black Granite Koons Gorilla Sculpture

["Gorilla" made with black granite]

Hulk Inflatable Art Exhibit

[“Hulk (Wheelbarrow)” made with polychromed bronze]

With an elite circle of art aficionados, Koons’ work has a loyal following amongst collectors who can afford the often seven-digit price tags. As his pieces possess a materialistic wonderment that screams of Pop art and an editorial on the culture of commodity, it’s not surprising that Koons has carved out a distinct space “at the top of” (or as some may argue, above) the art market.  Though we sharply disagree with his methodology of rejecting the inherent nature of materials, we salute his strict adherence to it!

Source: Vulture, Jeff Koons, SF Gate, Design Milk

Thursday Salute to Originals: Sun Salutation

GPI Design - Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tomorrow is the summer solstice and what better way to celebrate than to feature a project that harnesses the energy of the sun! The beautiful coastal town of Zadar, Croatia comes to life at sunset via the Sun Salutation piece, a public art installation by Croatian architect Nikola Bašić.

This "circle of light" consists of 300 photovoltaic solar cells installed beneath glass panels to create a dynamic flooring landscape at the water’s edge. The LEDs shift colors and patterns to create a spectacular show that mimics the rhythm of the waves, a breathtaking scene in the evening light.

Nikola Basic Sun Salutation Installation at Croatia Coast

The installation also moves to the sounds of an oceanic musical instrument, the Sea Organ, which was also designed by Bašić. The Sea Organ is built into marble stairs at the edge of the water which emit whale-like noises when waves crash into the marble.

In conjunction with the Sun Salutation piece, Bašić merges the open frontier of the sea with the urban public space. Installed in 2005 after the renovation of the city’s shore front, Sun Salutation produces enough energy to be used for the installation, as well as for the lighting of the entire waterfront.

Solar LED Glass Floor Installation by Nikola Basic

Art Installation LED Lighted Floor with Solar Technology

The Sun Salutation is a unique example of modern technologies coexisting with the natural landscape to create a sense of tranquility and peace, following both the ebb and flow of the ocean and implementing renewable energy sources in an urban context.

As we celebrate the onset of summer, what are you doing to salute the sun?

Image credits: My Modern Met

Thursday Salute to Originals: A Touchscreen Museum Visit

GPI Design - Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Cleveland Museum of Art has a new interactive gallery that combines art and technology to encourage visitors to explore the museum’s permanent collection. This new feature in Cleveland is a source of great excitement here at GPI Design, not only for its use of LED technology, but for its forward-thinking approach to redefining the museum experience.

This innovative gallery space features the “Collection Wall”, the largest multi-touch micro-tile screen in the United States, which presents images of over 3,500 items from the museum’s collection. This 5x40-foot interactive wall features a 23-million pixel display that changes every 40 seconds, grouping works by theme and type (such as time period, materials and techniques) as well as curated views of the collection.

The technology facilitates discovery and dialogue with other visitors and can serve as an orientation experience, allowing visitors to download existing tours or create their own. Multiple users can interact with the wall, simultaneously opening as many as twenty separate interfaces, making sure everyone can explore together.

As visitors depart from the Collection Wall to walk through the museum, a specially designed iPad app called Artlens serves as an interactive map.  Intended destinations can be chosen at the main Collection Wall and the iPad will guide you to that specific work within the museum.  As you approach each work, indoor geo-triangulation software opens new content within the app, empowering each visitor to connect the collection in a unique way, and creating a more powerful, personal experience.

Every 10 minutes, an application content management system updates the "Collection Wall" with high-resolution artwork images, metadata, and the frequency with which each artwork has been “favorited” on the wall and from within the ArtLens iPad app. These activity metrics enable museum staff to understand what artworks visitors are engaging with, creating a feedback loop within the museum.

As technology and social media become the main tools for sharing content and expressing individuality, we salute the Cleveland Museum of Art for grasping those trends and transforming not only a feature wall, but the entire museum experience.

Thursday Salute to Originals: Vertical Horizons of Hong Kong

GPI Design - Thursday, June 06, 2013

French photographer and graphic designer Romain Jacquet-Lagreze shines with a new collection of photographs entitled “Vertical Horizon.” The photos presents readers an interesting visual survey of the architecture within Hong Kong’s ever growing urban landscape, viewing skyscrapers, tunnels and interiors from the bottommost perspective.

Vertical Horizons Hong Kong Skyline Images

"When I arrived, I had this same feeling of being surrounded, like I was walking through another kind of forest," Romain Jacquet-Lagreze recalls. "So naturally I started to look up and saw the buildings from another angle. I found it interesting so I started to shoot a few photos like this. Then little by little I grew fonder of it and I decided to work more seriously on an extensive series to cover most of the district in Hong Kong."

Canopy of Skyscrapers Hong Kong Buildings

The visuals are truly striking and serves as a reminder that you never know what kind of inspiration you can draw by just looking to the skies.  Cities are dynamic environments that expand in all three dimensions; today we salute Jacquet-Lagreze's reminders for us to look up and celebrate that verticality.

Photo credits: Fastco Design

Thursday Salute to Originals: Viñoly Soars in NYC

GPI Design - Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rafael Vinoly Park Ave Design

Rafael Viñoly Architects are pushing the definition of the phrase “high living” to the next level. The firm designed the high rise apartment building 432 Park Ave to be an iconic addition to the Manhattan skyline. Standing at just under 1400 feet tall, the building is set to be the tallest residential construction in the Western Hemisphere.

To place the building in context with other notables in New York, the Empire State Building and newly constructed One World Trade Center are 1454 and 1776 feet respectively. This 432 Park Ave project - rising 1396 feet - will be so tall that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had to give its approval. The project began sales of condominium spaces back in March 2013 and has already garnered over 1 billion USD from overseas investors looking for a prestigious place to crash on their trips to the Big Apple.

432 Park Avenue Skyline Views from Interior

Although the tower was designed to be conscious of the limited footprint Manhattan offers, future residents will still be able to enjoy over 30,000 square feet in their units. Along with the leg room comes private elevators, libraries, eat-in kitchens, master suites, and many more amenities for each resident. That space and comfort at the top of New York won’t come cheaply however - with units that have a going rate of $7 to $95 million USD, this project is clearly targeted for the top of the market.

The 96 story building will provide scenic views of Central Park, as well as the Hudson and East Rivers and (of course) of the awe inspiring concrete jungle that is Manhattan. Slated for completion in 2015, this soaring tower will forever change the New York skyline.

Vinoly Building Park Ave NYC

Credits: NY Daily News, Design Boom

Thursday Salute to Originals: Coffee Bean Inspires Café Interior

GPI Design - Thursday, May 23, 2013

In this moment of modern history, we’ve become quite accustomed to visiting contemporary, hip places, but it is a rarity to walk into an establishment and think to ourselves that the design is truly unique in the hospitality arena. This is precisely what was accomplished by design firm Innarch in Kosovo with their crafting of the interior spaces at Don’s Café.

The interior concept was based on a sack of coffee beans and is a playful take on the idea. The tables and lamps represent asymmetrically aligned coffee beans and they even go so far as to coat the columns in the space to mimic the texture of the exterior of a coffee bean sack. Not only is Don’s Café a good design, but it is also a good marketing tool because it creates a buzz from word of mouth around an “unusual” looking interior, helping to differentiate it from other run of the mill coffee shops.

The most unique feature in the shop is the partition wall that serves both a decorative and functional purpose in that it provides a striking visual aesthetic and provides seating for patrons. Because of its unique form, each piece of the wall had to be individually designed, cut and assembled to make the composition work effectively. The entire composition consists of 1365 custom pieces of plywood and is a shining example of how to design unique customer experiences. Salute!

Image credits: Contemporist

Thursday Salute to Originals: Modern Design of Mayan History

GPI Design - Thursday, May 16, 2013

To present Mayan civilization in a dynamic audio and visual medium, an interactive media installation at the recently constructed Gran Museo del Mundo Maya conveys cultural developments over time. The goal of the exhibit was to represent the Mayan diaspora not as archaeological vestiges, but as a living culture that exists today. Given this focus, video painting and multimedia technology have been blended to evoke Mayan culture in an animated narrative that spans from the birth of our planet, through the history of mankind, to the emergence of contemporary societies today.

Backlit Facade Illumination at Gran Museo del Mundo Maya

The Gran Museo del Mundo Maya building itself, designed by Mexican based firm Grupo Arquidecture (formerly 4A Arquitectos), was designed around Mayan beliefs as opposed to contemporary aesthetic principles. The program was based on the ‘Ceiba’ plant, a sacred tree in Mayan culture. The structure prominently features an oval mass hoisted high above the ground wrapped in green-tinted facade elements that represent the foliage spreading out, protecting and shading the functions underneath.

Multimedia Lighting Design Facade Treatment

The exterior of the museum showcases a presentation of images the in the form of an animated fresco on the exterior of the museum. This interactive piece, created in collaboration between video painter Xavier de Richemont and multimedia lighting design firm XYZ Technologie Culturelle, is accompanied by an audio track of ancient and modern sounds. “XYZ’s multimedia installation offers visitors a chance to literally immerse themselves in this symbolic narrative. Sixteen high-definition projectors animate the upper part of the museum façade with a virtual strip that unfurls 34 giant tableaus composed of drawings, photographs, and graphic compositions by de Richemont. A long-range sound system, integrated into the building’s architecture, broadcasts the show’s music throughout the site,” according to Contemporist.

Gran Museo del Mundo Maya Exterior Facade Design

Video Animated Lighting Design Illuminated Facade Technology

As designers strive to connect buildings to unique contexts and cultures, this project inspires the use of emerging technologies to express those histories. We salute this intersection between modern lighting design, art, and architecture to achieve a rich narrative expression!

Image credits: Contemporist