Client: National Park Service
Location: Washington DC, MD, United States
Completion date: 2015
Artwork budget: $170,000
M.C. Dean, Inc.
The Tricorn is a kinetic sculpture placed in the basin of James Monroe Memorial Park in Washington, DC. It is both a dry lighting sculpture and an illuminated fountain, and each condition reveals a different aspect of light when applied to translucent materials.
There were two distinct goals for James Monroe Memorial Park. The first was the creation of a sculpture that could serve during summer as a water feature and as a monolith producing Moiré patterns, typical of kinetic art, during winter. During both seasons, lighting effects are created by night using LEDs lodged in the base of the sculpture.
I collaborated with the structural engineer in devising the way in which the sculpture articulated the mesh to the structure to allow water to flow down seamlessly. I also worked with the water experts and the electrical engineers to design a system enabling a response to the technical requirements of cables and tubes restricting the scope of the work on the cement of the basin, a 3000 psi cement mix poured 50 years ago. Working for the National Park Service requires a precise level of communication.
The project was done without using mock-ups and relied upon its effect on my personal experience with lighting.