Client: Greg Beach and Indira Stewart
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada
Completion date: 2013
Artwork budget: $5,000
Denegri Bessai Studio
The brief for this project in a small Victorian residence was to creatively resolve a change in ceiling heights between the 220 sf kitchen and a previous addition. The client requested a functional, spectacular art piece that united the two spaces. Together, we created a semi-transparent white 7’ x 7’6” Plexiglas lightbox that added unique visual interest while not being overpowering. Using the existing pot lights as markers, we created patterns of subdivision done parametrically to create a lace-like pattern. The piece was machine fabricated locally using CNC technology.
The goals for this project were to resolve the difference in ceiling height while adding visual interest to the room; to create a functional artwork that would also be a conversation piece; to maintain a sense of balance between the sculptural piece and the minimal interior; and to create something that would delight and surprise visitors and the family’s young children.
We imagined a piece that would create a dramatic focal point in the domestic space where people often gather. Having such an art piece on the kitchen ceiling is unusual, and so integrating into the interior was key. We kept everything else very minimal allowing the lightbox’s pattern to dominate. The artwork takes advantage of the small space, allowing people to experience it in an intimate way. We also wanted to create a statement piece that would not take up precious floor area in this small home. We aimed to incorporate a sense of novelty and excitement to an otherwise simple domestic space. Finally, we wanted to create an elegant work that would be appreciated for years to come.
Denegri Bessai Studio is a firm that focuses on unique collaborative projects that combine experimental research with engaged client consultation. For this project, the client wanted something impressive and effective for their space. The collaboration with the client was integral to the success of the piece, since the kitchen is such a key space and is one of the most frequented rooms in the house. We needed to know how the kitchen was used and how the lightbox would impact the family’s daily life. One thing that came from the collaboration was to instill a sense of playfulness into the piece for the family’s children. It was vital that they felt comfortable living with the artwork. We also worked closely with a computational designer, a recent graduate who is part of a new breed of young designers working with code. Together, we engaged in extensive material testing and prototyping for this project.
Our studio specializes in bringing these types of collaborative artworks to the residential market. Art is not just for corporate or institutional spaces; we believe there is a benefit to making it more widely accessible. We want to bring highly innovative design-led artworks into everyday interiors. While the budget for this project was very small and so was the space, we felt that we could create something impressive that would elicit very positive reactions from our clients and visitors to the home, that fit well into the kitchen area while also providing a sense of fun, engagement and light.