Geometry of Light

February 13

The Fundació Mies van der Rohe and MAS Context have organized Geometry of Light, an art intervention by Luftwerk in collaboration with Iker Gil that is taking place at the Barcelona Pavilion, February 10-17, 2019 as part of the Fundació Mies van der Rohe’s ongoing program of artistic interventions.

Geometry of Light is an immersive intervention at the Barcelona Pavilion envisioned as a contemporary lens for this important masterpiece, highlighting and expanding upon the architectural and material features of this structure. Using the 1929 Pavilion, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich, as the foundation of the work, Geometry of Light creates a new interpretive layer extending from the primary elements of the architecture, including the gridded plan, vertical planes, and materiality.

This intervention of light and sound enlivens and alters our perception of the essential elements of the pavilion. By emphasizing the open floor plan and material selections, Geometry of Light heightens the illusion of physical and material boundaries. Focused on the gridded plan of the pavilion, a grid of light animates the architecture to accentuate the flowing space as it permeates through the interior and exterior. The animated lines of light are choreographed to trace, highlight, and alter the composition of the pavilion. 

Following its premiere in Barcelona, Geometry of Light will be installed at the Farnsworth House in October 2019 to coincide with the third edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. 

White Wanderer

September 29

White Wanderer, an intervention of sound and light

Developed from relationships with the Natural Resources Defense Council and a glaciologist at the University of Chicago, this project launched in October 2017 with two iterations: 2 Riverfront Plaza and another at Art Expo Chicago. The immersive installation at 2 Riverside Plaza was comprised of a visual representation at 1:5000 scale of the 120-mile long crack on the side of the building paired with a custom sound recording of the iceberg. Sound recordings of Larsen-C covered the plaza with a prominent frequency; at times the city and iceberg sounds correlate to one another and at other times they are in conflict. The haunting, eerie iceberg sound is animalistic with a depth that connects on a visceral level, stirring curiosity to create awareness and action. The White Wanderer exhibition at EXPO Chicago presented artistic interpretations of the Larsen-C ice shelf, including: a light sculpture mimicking ice flow, prints tracing satellite images of Arctic ice flows, and interpretations of radar readings from ice distress.

 

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Hyperallergic
UChicagoNews
Observer
The Week
Chicagoist

Solarise: The Beacon

May 13

Solarise: A Sea of All Colors, 2015

Garfield Park Conservatory is lauded as one of the great architectural masterpieces in Chicago. Completed in 1907 by the famed landscaped architect Jens Jenson this revolutionary building opened as the largest conservatory in the world. The glass structure contains distinct gardens connected by a series of contiguous pathways runnning throughout the space. Majestic gardens present both contemporary and prehistoric plants in this vibrant environment. In 2011, a storm caused significant damaged to the glass building and the plants within the conservatory.

As part of an effort to raise awareness and draw public attention to the conservatory and rehabilitation efforts, Luftwerk was commissioned to create a series of year-long installations throughout the conservatory. Solarise: A Sea of All Colors contained five distinct installations; each in a different garden, developed with a distinct point of view to frame, highlight, and interpret important elements of the garden.

The Beacon

The Beacon welcomes evening visitors to the Conservatory. LED nodes line and highlight the vertical structure of the glass building. The nodes translate a live data feed gauging the course and speed of wind passing through Chicago in a dynamic display. This visual interpretation abstracts data to highlight the natural environment surrounding the unique ecosystem of nature within the Conservatory. Developed as a permanent installation, this permanent piece leaves a mark of the Solarise exhibition.

Reviews:
Architectural Record
CS Modern Interiors
New Media Caucus—College Art Association
Condé Nast Traveler
Architect Magazine
ArtSlant
The Architect’s Newspaper
Time Out Chicago
Chicago Reader | People Issue 2015
The Art Assignment | PBS Digital Studio

Solarise: Seed of Light

Solarise: A Sea of All Colors, 2015

Garfield Park Conservatory is lauded as one of the great architectural masterpieces in Chicago. Completed in 1907 by the famed landscaped architect Jens Jenson this revolutionary building opened as the largest conservatory in the world. The glass structure contains distinct gardens connected by a series of contiguous pathways runnning throughout the space. Majestic gardens present both contemporary and prehistoric plants in this vibrant environment. In 2011, a storm caused significant damaged to the glass building and the plants within the conservatory.

As part of an effort to raise awareness and draw public attention to the conservatory and rehabilitation efforts, Luftwerk was commissioned to create a series of year-long installations throughout the conservatory. Solarise: A Sea of All Colors contained five distinct installations; each in a different garden, developed with a distinct point of view to frame, highlight, and interpret important elements of the garden.

Seed of Light

Seed of Light highlighted the simple essence of water. The kinetic chandelier of lit acrylic circular trays reflected water ripples from single drops of water falling onto the trays. As drops of water hit the tray beneath the light shining on the chandelier cast sparkling shadows from these ripples across the floor of the conservatory. The circular geometry of the sculpture was inspired by the universal symbol of creation, the Flower of Life.

Reviews:
Architectural Record
CS Modern Interiors
New Media Caucus—College Art Association
Condé Nast Traveler
Architect Magazine
ArtSlant
The Architect’s Newspaper
Time Out Chicago
Chicago Reader | People Issue 2015
The Art Assignment | PBS Digital Studio

Solarise: Prismatic

Solarise: A Sea of All Colors, 2015

Garfield Park Conservatory is lauded as one of the great architectural masterpieces in Chicago. Completed in 1907 by the famed landscaped architect Jens Jenson this revolutionary building opened as the largest conservatory in the world. The glass structure contains distinct gardens connected by a series of contiguous pathways runnning throughout the space. Majestic gardens present both contemporary and prehistoric plants in this vibrant environment. In 2011, a storm caused significant damaged to the glass building and the plants within the conservatory.

As part of an effort to raise awareness and draw public attention to the conservatory and rehabilitation efforts, Luftwerk was commissioned to create a series of year-long installations throughout the conservatory. Solarise: A Sea of All Colors contained five distinct installations; each in a different garden, developed with a distinct point of view to frame, highlight, and interpret important elements of the garden.

Prismatic

Developed as both an installation and performance, Prismatic was an abstract interpretation of the geometry within desert plants. This series of five rotated and extended triangular acrylic frames appeared to hover above the cacti in the garden. In the day, the interaction of the sunlight shining through the glass roof with acrylic spokes refracted and cast unique light shapes throughout the garden. In the evening, Prismatic was illuminated by pin-spot LED lighting, casting rainbows across the conservatory’s Desert House. An original music composition by Owen Clayton Condon used cacti from the conservatory’s collection and accompanied the suspended sculpture.

Reviews:
Architectural Record
CS Modern Interiors
New Media Caucus—College Art Association
Condé Nast Traveler
Architect Magazine
ArtSlant
The Architect’s Newspaper
Time Out Chicago
Chicago Reader | People Issue 2015
The Art Assignment | PBS Digital Studio

 

Solarise: Portal

Solarise: A Sea of All Colors, 2015

The Garfield Park Conservatory is lauded as one of the great architectural masterpieces in Chicago. Completed in 1907 by the famed landscaped architect Jens Jenson this revolutionary building opened as the largest conservatory in the world. The glass structure contains distinct gardens connected by a series of contiguous pathways runnning throughout the space. Majestic gardens present both contemporary and prehistoric plants in this vibrant environment. In 2011, a storm caused significant damaged to the glass building and the plants within the conservatory.

As part of an effort to raise awareness and draw public attention to the conservatory and rehabilitation efforts, Luftwerk was commissioned to create a series of year-long installations throughout the conservatory. Solarise: A Sea of All Colors contained five distinct installations; each in a different garden, developed with a distinct point of view to frame, highlight, and interpret important elements of the garden.

Portal

Located in the entrance of the conservatory, Portal was situated to frame the Spring Song Waterfall in the conservatory’s legendary Fern Room—the room located directly behind the entrance. Hovering above the reflection pool, the series of mirrored frames appeared to nestle together when viewed from the front. This extended portal reflected the surrounded plants, the reflecting pool beneath, and the glass structure of the conservatory through a new, abstracted and fragmented perspective.

Reviews:
Architectural Record
CS Modern Interiors
New Media Caucus—College Art Association
Condé Nast Traveler
Architect Magazine
ArtSlant
The Architect’s Newspaper
Time Out Chicago
Chicago Reader | People Issue 2015
The Art Assignment | PBS Digital Studio

 

Corner of a Square | The Arts Club of Chicago

February 04

Looking at the corner of a square, Luftwerk unpacked the Arts Club of Chicago’s iconic staircase designed by Mies van der Rohe with this installation. The 90-degree angular lines in his buildings are also the primary structure of the stair. While these forms have a strong and rigid geometry, there is a lot space within them. To explore this space, Luftwerk created an abstract stepped armature that, when viewed from the correct angle, appears as a square. Rigid lines are softened by the halo emerging from the light outlining the sculpture. This interpretation of Mies highlights the softness of space that exists within strong geometric forms.

This custom-designed structure was created for the garden of the Arts Club of Chicago, bringing the exploration of the interior, outside. From Luftwerk’s research and interaction with buildings by Mies, they see something metaphysical that transcends the materiality and rigid geometry of his architecture. Through this installation they express this quality, framing the space within the framework while diffusing the lines of the piece with the glow of light.

 

Turning Sky | The 606

January 15

In 2015, a disused train line running through Chicago’s west side opened as an elevated trail named the 606 to the public. The 606 was conceived as a living work of art with plans to integrate temporary and permanent installations throughout the functional trail.

Turning Sky is a lighting station, located at the Milwaukee Ave intersection on the 606 that visualizes ephemeral conditions of the city: the local weather and atmospheric conditions on the trail. Highlighting the physical infrastructure of the trail, LED light nodes trace the suspension cables on a bridge and transmit information through colored lights. This installation is both a visually compelling and informative. Adding dynamism and more light to the trail, the LED lights also transmit real time information. Over time, the information it transmits will change—the inaugural display reflected wind patterns and speed, with future plans to visualize real time air quality for nearby residents.

Using data from The Array of Things, an urban sensing project in Chicago, Turning Sky is able to visualize and communicate conditions of the city. The partnership between the University of Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory, and the City of Chicago has placed data collection nodes throughout the city and was developed to better understand, serve, and improve the city through this data. While the collected data is free and open to the public, this project creates a user-friendly and accessible visualization of these data. This is the first project by Luftwerk that pulls from a live data stream.

Reviews:
Chicago
ist

 

bLUMEN

November 20

(blume : German for ‘flower.’ | lumen : Latin for ‘light.’)

bLUMEN is a site-specific sculptural pavilion combining art, architecture, and technology to create a flourishing plant-growth environment that engages and connects with the Homan Square community. With bLUMEN, we envision how design can transform and activate sites into fertile ground for creativity, innovation, and social interaction.

Modular in form, the temporary pavilion is formed by six 10-foot tall hexagonal steel structures connected to one another, forming an urban canopy. The canopy acts as the physical framework for fifteen interconnected horticulture LED grow lights that help grow a small selection of plants and vegetables. With access to healthy and fresh food being an issue in the Homan Square and North Lawndale communities, bLUMEN focuses on food as a core issue to gather the community and help the effort of other local initiatives working on nutrition and healthy lifestyles.

The asymmetric steel structure organizes and activates the currently underutilized site, creating a new public space for Homan Square residents and visitors. With its pink glow generated by the grow lights, bLUMEN extends the daily use of the space, allowing for temporary and seasonal interventions to take place day and night. Whether to host established and existing programs or new and spontaneous interventions, we hope bLUMEN becomes a new and exciting gathering place for the Homan Square community and all Chicago residents.

The bLUMEN pavilion was designed and built as part of the bLUMEN summer course taught by Luftwerk and MAS Studio and organized by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects and the Shapiro Center for Research and Collaboration in August of 2016.

Mauerschau | Bayerische Staatsoper

August 25

Mauerschau is Hauke Berheide’s operatic interpretation of Penthesilea—Heinrich von Kleist’s 1808 tragedy about the mythological Amazon queen. The opera imagines a tumultuous, raging war in an emotional drama highlighting the complicated, abstract reality embedded in these conflicts.

Luftwerk’s design for the stage and video content for this opera reflected the confusion inherent in war. They set the tone of the opera with Roger Fenton’s iconic 1855 image of war—one in which a staged propaganda photo frames a distorted reality. Stemming from this, patterns derived from Morse code and Dazzle camouflage further highlight the abstract realm of war. Using forced perspective the set gives the illusion of a greater depth, altering the viewer’s perception and abstracting reality.

Using a mix of historic and contemporary visual materials, the set connected the historic story of war into the present in an atmospheric design. Together, the design elements set the mood of the opera while looking at how abstraction can exist in the reality of photography and the similarities of wars throughout time. Abstract details of message, approach, and history reside within and are reflected through this design for Mauerschau.

 

Die Deutsche Bühne

Süddeutsche Zeitung