Recently IDS was approached to design a building-scale public art project in Pasadena. The project is an exciting addition to the usual studio workload, and a great chance to alter the landscape of our city.
Our aim for this project is to make commentary on the experience of time on three different scales: the order of seconds, the order of hours, and the order of months. To express these scales, we created three separate elements that will display the passage of time.
First, an array of fins across the first floor creates a rhythmic pattern that mimics the regular, observable advance of seconds. Some fins extend are painted yellow and vertically to tie into the second element: the sundial. As the sun advances along its course, it uses the building façade itself to indicate the afternoon hours. As the sun sets, the third timekeeping element comes to life: a moondial indicates the current phase of the moon.
Timekeeping is a functional yet subtle aspect of our project. First and foremost, it is public art. We want the piece to have an immediate visual impact that both resonates with the viewer and enhances the quality of the architecture. For the vertical elements of the sundial we chose a bright yellow to draw viewers’ eyes upwards, inviting them to study the installation and building together. The gnomon, which is the part of the sundial that casts the shadow, is painted red to set it apart from the neutral gray hour lines. These additions lend a unique element to the host building, setting it apart from its surroundings.
As designers, we’re always striving to find new ways to influence the world around us. Needless to say, we’re thrilled to be working this project. We’ll keep updates coming as progress is made.
- Vaughn Calandra, Designer at Ilan Dei Studio