The artwork for the East Rancho Dominquez public library is comprised of six 14'H glass panels of varying widths. The six panels, totaling 325SF, are comprised of computer-generated collages laminated between two layers of tempered glass and hung 10'AFF in custom-designed hardware. Part of Percent for the Arts program, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission along with the stakeholders decided the library's artwork should be created by an emerging, local artist that had not completed any public commissions. The inspiration for the art came from fruitful discussions with the stakeholders, interactions with local youth and time spent in the community.
Located in Los Angeles County, the East Rancho Dominguez Public Library is the first LEED Platinum building for the county. Designed by Carde Ten Architects, the new 7200SF building takes advantage of Southern California's natural light by placing windows along its double height space. The artwork has the same proportions as the large windows and their colors compliment the architecture’s palette. The glass artwork is mounted at the same height as the windows which is a datum throughout the building.
The location for the artwork was predetermined to be above the reception desk. After seeing the construction documents, I suggested the artwork extend past the reception desk and into the main reading room. In this way, the artwork slowly reveals itself as library patrons move through the building. Each piece is experienced in a slightly different way because of the scale or ceiling treatments throughout the main room.
The width of the artwork is 5'-0” W, 3'-6”W and 1'-9”W. These sizes are based on reveals that the architect created in the drywall. The artwork fits between reveals creating a seamless transition from architecture to art.
The process was collaborative from the very beginning. The three short-listed artists met at the East Rancho Dominguez community center where we were introduced to the Neighborhood Association President. She took the three of us on a walk, pointing out the significant buildings including the public park and the new grocery store. We ended at the existing library where we were introduced to the head librarian. Together, the two ladies explained the important role the library served in their community.
After winning the commission, the stakeholders explained their goals and aspirations for the artwork. The library and the Neighborhood Association President wanted artwork that engaged the community. The County of Los Angeles was interested in sustainability and the architect was interested in a style and color that complemented the building.
I was able to create artwork that conveys a feeling, tells a story and is in harmony with the design of the building. Each collage features a tree from the neighborhood layered with a historic map of Los Angeles. The trees represent the diversity and strength of its residents and the maps locate the area through time. When layered, the two celebrate the community of East Rancho Dominquez.
The stakeholders were very pleased with the outcome of the artwork. I was commissioned to create a small booklet that described the inspiration for the artwork including the public engagement with the community. The booklet can be downloaded or checked out at the East Rancho Dominquez public library.
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CODA: Collaboration of Design + Art
The global online community that celebrates design projects featuring commissioned artworks.
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Art matters. Attention to the details of our environment leads to love of place, which brings us to take responsibility for the spaces where we live and work. And by extension, the people with whom we live and work. And by extension, to our local communities, our cities, our nations, and our world.
We champion the role of artists in our society. We need artists to provide us with inspiration, creativity, and imagination, and to help us envision a better world.
Architects and designers know that remarkable design can change everything. They connect the dots across disciplines, collaborating with artists to make the world a more beautiful place. They are the ultimate patrons of the arts.
In the process, design professionals promote imagination and creativity, and through their commissions, make original art integral to and accessible in people's lives.
Art in our public and private spaces helps us fight ordinary buildings, ordinary streets, ordinary cities. We celebrate the extraordinary.
The architecture of our buildings and the design of our interiors affect our happiness and well-being. Each of us deserves a daily dose of inspiration.