Milky Way - CODAworx

Milky Way

Submitted by Aaron Fein

Client: Private

Location: Miami, FL, United States

Completion date: 2015

Artwork budget: $50,000

Project Team


Aaron Fein

Formwork Architecture


Mauricio Del Valle

Mauricio Del Valle Design Inc


Brickell Group Contstruction


To design and create a machine and hand embroidered mural that would subtly define the main space of a 40th story, Miami Beach residence. The fabric wall, 6.5 ft h x 64 ft long, was to be created from synthetic fabric that would be tautly mounted on stretch fabric system, so as to prevent any movement from wind resulting from open balcony doors.


This space, which would be defined by a muted palette of whites, tans and greys, was meant to be complemented, not overpowered, by the large commissioned mural (64ft long). The architects requested a subtle tableau that would slowly reveal itself over months and years. The design of the residence, conceptualized as a vantage point, from which one could take in sweeping vistas, from land to sea, drove a color palette ranging from warm gold to deep turquoise. Within this framework, the artist proposed the design for the “Milky Way’ – an otherworldly universe of figures comprised of geometries both simple and complex. With a majority of the stitch work done in white, small moments of color appeared where invented figures overlapped.


Formwork Architecture brought their previous professional relationships with both the client and artist together for this project. With a great deal of trust flowing through Formwork, the artist was free to conceptualize and propose a stitched mural that accommodated the subtlety of the environment and the overall color scheme. During the production phase, the artist produced a series of full-scale sample sections of the mural, for the architect and client to review. Over the project’s development, the initial strategy of describing objects through stitched linear elements, evolved into one in which shapes were defined by light over areas of stitched thread. The high sheen white rayon thread created illusionistic volumes through reflections of light that would change continually throughout the day, and in tandem with a viewer’s motion. The overall composition was ultimately divided into a series of 32 vertical fabric panels (each made from four fabric sections sewn together). While design and production of the mural proceeded, we also produced a series of mock-ups to determine which wall system profiles would work best with the overall design. The artist oversaw final installation of the piece on the stretch wall system.

Additional Information

In this project, artist Aaron Fein integrates the traditional craft of embroidery with digital design and manufacturing techniques. A former architect, Fein always envisioned this marriage of old and new as a means for large-scale spatial applications. What he discovered, though the creation of ‘Milky Way’, far surpassed his expectations. Throughout the development of the work, he discovered new and exciting ways to manipulate stitching to create dynamic mosaics of patterned light that subtly change in response to the lit environment, as well as a viewer's motion.