An epic panel of overlapping imagery stands outside the entrance to the VA’s Polytrauma & Blind Rehabilitation Center. The composition is replicated inside as a suspended cylinder, an optical complication that further challenges viewers. Both screen and cylinder are legible to those with 20/200 vision, a threshold commonly used in defining legal blindness. A third component, incorporating a tactile interface, is for those totally without sight.
The exterior piece is laser-cut steel and measures 9’ high, 20’ wide and 13” deep. The interior cylinder is aluminum and measures 7’-6” high, 6’ in diameter.
The aspirations for artwork at the VA’s Polytrauma & Blind Rehabilitation Center were substantial, subtle and challenging. Among the challenges was that of creating art for an audience with compromised vision.
In consulting health care professionals attending to returning veterans, a theme emerged—the contemplative value of perceiving Nature during recovery.
Another, perhaps surprising, theme was that the art might perceptually challenge the patients. It should go beyond decoration and formal elegance.
Field Guide is inspired by—and devoted to—the ineffable connection between wildlife and humans.
Through form, light, shadow, and touch, this sculpture aims to encourage a reverent bond with the natural world.
As noted above, consulting with the pertinent health care specialists was extremely helpful.
Similarly, we consulted with museum professionals experienced in engaging the visually challenged.
Navigating the inevitable challenges encountered in any substantial commission was expected, especially in a national political atmosphere with the larger institution undergoing criticism.
The VA, the designers, the contractor and the fabricator were key players, and the journey of realizing the artwork was unusually difficult. Our studio’s reputation as a willing and flexible collaborator was put to the test.
Ultimately, the VA’s gifted and committed interior designer was instrumental in seeing the commission through to completion.
In a place of healing we expect care, hope for connection, and long for comfort.
Diversion can help, too, and a sense of enlightened diversion is at the heart of Field Guide.
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CODA: Collaboration of Design + Art
The global online community that celebrates design projects featuring commissioned artworks.
[ manifesto ]
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.