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Client: RDG Planning & Design

Location: Des Moines, IA, United States

Completion date: 2019

Artwork budget: $75,000

Project Team

Artist

RDG Dahlquist Art Studio

Client

RDG Planning & Design

Artist

Matt Niebuhr

RDG Dahlquist Art Studio

Artist

David Dahlquist

RDG Dahlquist Art Studio

Artist

Kate Chandler

RDG Dahlquist Art Studio

Lighting Design

RDG Planning & Design

Videographer

John Hansen

RDG Planning & Design

Photography & Film

Jan van Ijken

Overview

We are artist and design collaborators at the art studio at RDG Planning & Design. We regularly work with other artists and design professionals, architects, landscape architects, planners, interior designers, graphic designers and more. We developed the concept for this installation entitled “Murmuration” as a metaphor for our organization. It represents our continuous strides together as creatives to reach towards a state of becoming. With each individual acting in unison and in response to our neighbor we become more influential as the greater whole – together we become something more amazing, wonderful and impactful in our creative work.

Goals

We believe there is benefit to including artful experiences within the work environment. We believe that art should be a part of our daily work lives - mind and soul. “Murmuration” is a metaphorical embodiment of each unique individual and the whole – coming together – striving towards a state of becoming. It represents our recognition of a state of constant potential – a nod to the energy and invisible force guiding us and that we seek out together as creative individuals to act together for a greater purpose. The installation welcomes co-workers into the main lobby and up the stairs into a large open multipurpose collaboration space called “the Exchange” where creatives and clients gather to work on projects together.

Process

Consisting of over 450 uniquely handmade slip cast forms hung from overhead by ultrathin wire, each element was placed in relationship to its neighbor and the overall space – expressive of the “flock” as it flows from a two-story entry space to the exchange space. 40 are fitted with state-of-the-art flexible thin film OLED lighting whose power is transmitted to the film through the suspension wires. The installation accentuates the natural and artificial lighting of the existing space as it changes throughout the day. Slip casting is a ceramic forming technique for mass production of ceramic objects that are not easily made by sculpting or throwing on the potter’s wheel. Casting slip is made when water is added to clay to create a liquid. In the case of Murmuration, a thin layer of slip is poured onto a plaster slab and after a period of time the water evaporates from the slip. When the clay reaches a “rubber” consistency, the shape is cut out of the slab and draped over a form to dry, then fired in kilns. At less than 8oz. each form is lightweight; the overall installation was accomplished with no modification required of existing structure.