F1rst Residences – Lobby Mosaic

Submitted by Michael Curry Mosaics

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Client: Grosvener, McCaffrey, and Clarke Enterprises

Location: Washington DC, DC, United States

Completion date: 2017

Project Team

Artist

Michael Curry

Michael Curry Mosaics

Project Manager

Rhea Vaflor

Hickok Cole Lifestyle

Art Consultant

Amy Youngblood

Price Modern

Art Installation

Kevin Holder

DCI

Overview

The Capitol Riverfront is a lively new neighborhood in Washington DC bursting with restaurants, nightlife, parks, entertainment, and culture. F1rst Residences is an upscale rental property located at the center of it all. I was commissioned to create a 54″ x 62″ mosaic wall sculpture for a prominent niche in the building’s lobby.

Goals

The artwork chosen for this particular niche needed to be striking as it is prominently positioned in an active service area at the end of the eighty-foot main entryway, and visible from the street-level. Hickok Cole sought to commission a special piece that would draw visitors into the elongated space and resonate with the building's residents who utilize the service area on a regular basis. Their design concept for the lobby was inspired by the nearby Potomac River, so they envisioned an art piece that expressed the beautiful shimmer and reflection that one sees as the sun hits the water’s surface. With that in mind, we opted for a mosaic that is extremely detailed, yet simple in its flanked design, consisting of silvered water glass that glistens as it catches the light from the front lobby windows. Much of the hand-cut glass is dichroic, so as the viewing angle shifts, the piece melds from blue to turquoise to green, adding to its kinetic, water-like energy.

Process

Price Modern initiated contact and secured the commission and eventually, Hickok Cole Lifestyle was looped into the conversation to finalize the design details. One of the biggest design challenges for me was figuring out how to create this mosaic as a single piece, in the desired dimensions. Because there are multiple layers of glass, the design is quite heavy and so I would typically break it up into a series of panels, such as a triptych or a diptych. To be created as a large single unit, I knew the piece needed to be modular, however, due to the orientation of the tiles, it cannot be made modular with panels that align vertically--only horizontally. To achieve a seamless connection, stacking top on bottom is much more challenging and less forgiving than side by side. This required that both the craftsmanship and installation be meticulous, as well as implementing two back-side T-bars to lock the horizontal seams in place, and an additional row of tiles running along the outer edge to camouflage the seam. The project manager visited my studio mid-process to check progress, and once completed, the piece was shipped out, and as hoped, was flawlessly installed by DCI.