“Magic Hour” is a 1,500 square feet, three dimensional mural at the New Mexico State University’s Performing Arts Theater. The mural, painted on concave ceiling planes, narrates the colors and history of New Mexico and the cultural heritage of dance performance. Custom designed and constructed light fixtures, along with a hoist system, are integrated into the artwork so that the light sculptures emerge from the painted theater ceiling, raising and lowering just as the rising and setting sun over New Mexico. The mural utilizes non-woven media, acrylic, silk, steel and electric hoists.
“Magic Hour” was borne of the desire to transcend a two dimensional ceiling mural with goals of adorning the theater while not impeding the stage. Integrating the artwork into the project was a fundamental design priority. The curved ceiling was imagined as a medium for visitors to experience the magic of theater beyond the confines of stereotypical "stage". The mural’s fusion of canvas and technology renders the building itself as an extension of the stage productions; it is the constant performance art within the Theater, creating a bit of magic by channeling art and architecture together - what is real, what is sculpture, what is paint? Does the ceiling curve or is it an illusion? The abstract depiction of the rising and setting sun, the colors of the desert, the visual history of local tradition “performs” above stage and seating. Importantly, the unique lighting hoist system, that undulates as the sun rises and sets, was specifically designed to allow for the fixtures to raise to maximum clearance height for optimal lighting requirements during performances. The entire mural design - both artistic and architectural - compliments and heightens the theater experience.
Art design, fabrication and installation of “Magic Hour” commenced after the base design for the Theater had been completed and construction was underway. Publicly-bid construction contracts increased the level of coordination and communication necessary. Heckendorn Shiles Architects and Meg Saligman Studios approached the project as a fluid integration of Meg’s art and HSA’s project management expertise. HSA utilized the BIM (Building Information Model) - initially created by the Theater Design team (led by Holzman Moss Botino) – to meticulously model building elements and eliminate impediments to the mural features and installation. Careful modeling of theater light beam projection, hydraulic spray of side-wall sprinklers, maintenance clearances of the electric hoists utilized to raise and lower the light fixtures, and three dimensional surface ‘penetrations’ such as sprinklers, hoist cables and structural catwalk supports, was necessary for the Art Project Team to adequately coordinate with the construction underway and to procure permitting approvals from various regulatory agencies in New Mexico. Extensive design modeling, documentation and communication allowed the painting of the mural to occur in Philadelphia by one team with final seamless installation in New Mexico by the overall construction team.
Geographic locations of project collaborators increased challenges to the realization of the project. The entire Art Project Team of artist, architectural coordinator, lighting design and fabricator, all are situated in the Greater Philadelphia area. The project site and construction team were local in New Mexico; the theater design architect was a NYC firm; structural and electrical/mechanical engineers were based in Connecticut and Texas; the hoist system design and fabricator was based in Wisconsin, and the theater consultant was in California. The geography of the various team members required meticulous communication and a unique level of trust.
Share Via Email
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.