Blue Flower/Flor Azul

Submitted by Federico Muelas

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Client: University of New Mexico

Location: Albuquerque, NM, United States

Completion date: 2012

Artwork budget: $419,289

Project Team

Architect

Antoine Predock

Antoine Predock Architect PC

Other

Chuck Zimmer - Public Art Program Manager

Artist

Federico Muelas

Federico Muelas INC.

Overview

In 2008 New Mexico Arts State agency commissioned artist Federico Muelas to create a permanent Public Art installation for the New School of architecture and urban planning at UNM.
The selecting committee and AIA architects Antoine Predock, Graham Hogan and Jon Anderson asked Federico Muelas to create a piece for the building based on his most recent body of work, that focuses on complex natural systems.
For this project Federico Muelas designed an Art piece that displays the image of drops of blue ink expanding in clear water on a 900 sq. foot custom made LCD screen.

Goals

The new School of Architecture and Planning at the University of New Mexico was designed by Antoine Predock. From the beginning the articulated wall on Central Avenue was designed to become a new abstract sign along Route 66.

The terraces placed across from the wall were designed to be a viewing area as well as an area for projection. The commissioned artwork needed to be integrated into the building design and take advantage of the space.

The integration was essential to the overall design. The artist worked with the principle architect throughout the project to insure the completed artwork blended effortlessly with the building. The goal was to have art be an extension of the building not a separate object that was attached to it.

Process

A team of 30 people, including electronic and structural engineers, programmers, electricians, fabricators and volunteers worked for four years under the direction of Mr. Muelas to design, implement, fabricate and install the piece that enlivens the west side facade of the building.
A continuous dialog between the creative and the technical teams was stimulated during the designing, implementation and installation phases of the project.

One of the biggest challenges during the production of “Blue Flower/Flor Azul” was to produce a productive environment in which a large group of experts from different disciplines; art, design, architecture, programming and engineering were able to successfully communicate and collaborate with each other.

In order to achieve this Federico Muelas applied the open Hardware and open software philosophy to the project. All the work created for “Blue Flower/Flor Azul”; drawings, schematics, code, etc. had to be (and still is) available for every team member as well as for the public.
At the same time, every team member had to be aware of what other divisions were doing, so learning and experiencing first hand all the elements involved in the process was constantly encouraged.

Additional Information

The 30 by 30 feet display we created for “Blue Flower/ Flor Azul” is powered with a maximum of 9 amps, approximately the energy consumed by two and a half computers, what positions “Blue Flower” screen among the most energy efficient large format displays in the world being 34 times more efficient than any LED Screen in the market and at a fraction of the production cost. Blue Flower/Flor Azul” attempts to create an “Imagination screen” for the University community and the visitor and to build a physical and virtual common place to share ideas and nurture dreams.