1611 W Division is designed to meet the needs of a progressive, active and mobile community. It reveals greater texture and changing perspectives as residents approach, engage and explore. The 125,000sf, 11 story building includes 99 mixed income apartments, second floor offices and ground floor retail. From a distance, the sleek, multi-faceted building creates a stunning, two-dimensional graphic navigating landmark. As pedestrians approach, the building's folded façade, comprised of staggered, non-repeating panels of metal and glass, captures light and reflects the energy that characterizes the community.
The project aimed at initiating a dialogue between the building, the art and its community. The 92' tall x 27' wide digital print is adapted from a watercolor of tree bark. Antonia Contro's "Scorza", meaning 'skin' in Italian, becomes a new skin on the building and uses its exposure as the building does, to reveal increasing texture and depth to viewers upon approach from a distance. The organic material represented in the artwork forms an interesting notable contrast with the technical aesthetic--the metal and glass exterior--of the building. The scale of the piece creates ambiguity, allowing the viewer to interpret for themselves what the forms and the negative space they create are. The location of the project establishes an anchor for this type of collaboration in the neighborhood and furthers the development of a vibrant cultural corridor along Division Street and Milwaukee Avenue, in Chicago.
Early in the design phase, the development team and architects identified the large concrete wall of the stair and elevator core as an opportunity for a significant installation that could connect the project to the community. A lengthy search began for a local artist who understood the design intent of the building and how their work could be re-interpreted with those same qualities and characteristics to create a dialogue between building and art. Collaborative meetings at the artist's studio with the architects and development team helped solidify a direction for the installation. Antonia Contro's original piece was a watercolor only 16" tall. Technical challenges included enlarging the piece over 68x its original size. The ultimate scale of the piece required full size mock-up sections to be printed and temporarily installed to confirm color and resolution at the enormous scale and distance of the viewer. Gamma Imaging directed the digital enlargement and printing process while KSA lighting provided photometry of the surface to confirm properly specified light fixtures and illumination. Installation required the use of a swing stage suspended 140' in the air to anchor the print's frame in place and stretch the print across it.
1611 W Division Art Wall
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.