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Sway’d’ Interactive Public Art Installation in Salt Lake City, Utah by Daniel Lyman
June 22nd, 2011 by Sanjay Gangal
Article source: Daniel Lyman
In its essence, the installation’s seemingly un-orchestrated subtle movements are reminiscent of a field of grass or trees reacting from the wind. Though each rod sways independently to its own rhythm, each individual maintains harmony with the whole; all swaying together in a symphony orchestrated by the supple forces of nature – no one part more important than the whole.
The rods are aligned on a thirty inch square grid, representative of the urban layout of Salt Lake City and surrounding areas. Individual rods created out of moly-filled nylon that pitch themselves over ten feet into the air to create a defined but open space. Though each rod is very thin, one inch in diameter, the nylon composition provides resistance without hindering motion. For ground support each rod is cemented into a concrete footing with minimal disturbance to the site. The sharp rays of sunlight cast hard shadows that are diffused on the gravel floor. Nighttime lighting is provided from security floodlights on the theatre wall and street lamps lining the walkways.
The soft subtle movements of an evening wind are pressed through the opening between the building to the west and the restaurants to the north, and is then dispersed throughout the site in swirling movements until finally finding a few constricted openings between the trees to the south.
Whatever time of day or season the experience of entering into this field can create a feeling of being transported to a different realm within the urban cityscape. The installation’s is completely open to the interpretation of each person within the field. Some may find a feeling of being lost while others may enjoy being encompassed all about by the flowing movements all around them. Because of the spacing between rods, adults will likely be required to meander through the site while children will enjoy running around brushing the rods. Whoever you are, you’ll be able to take an active role creating the movements by pressing against the rods and watching them undulate in diminishing reactive movements. The creative movements have been sway’d.
CONDENSED PROJECT ABSTRACT
In its essence, the installation’s un-orchestrated subtle movements are reminiscent of a field of grass reacting to the wind. Aligned in a perfect grid, the more than 1,000 moly-filled nylon rods pitch themselves over ten feet into the air. Although each rod is fairly thin, the nylon composition provides resistance without hindering motion. Anyone who enters this urban field can take an interactive role in orchestrating their experience by pressing against the rods and watching them undulate in diminishing reactive movements. The creative movements have been “sway’d.”
“When the building next door to the Capitol Theatre, once home to the Absolute restaurant, was razed to make room for the new Ballet West dance center, Salt Lake’s downtown might have been blighted with another dully landscaped empty lot for up to two years. “Instead, the AIA Young Architects Forum, approached Salt Lake County, the land owner, and launched a partnership with the County and Salt Lake City to sponsor an international design competition for a temporary public art installation. The Ballet West: Fluid Adagio Design Build Competition brought more than 60 entries from designers in 13 countries. Daniel Lyman, a student at the University of Utah College of Architecture + Planning, won the competition.
“Sway’d was selected through a two-stage competition initiated by the YAF that attracted over 60 entries from 14 countries. Significant credit goes to Salt Lake County for being willing to invest the money that would have been spent on a typical landscape solution in order to bring something much more exciting downtown. Sway’d is expected to delight visitors for 18 months to two years–the anticipated time before construction begins on the new Ballet West building.” – AIA Utah YAF
“We believe that once people begin to see interesting space like the installation “Sway’d” created by Daniel Lyman, our community will begin to see the palpable difference between an environment that is well thought out and designed versus the many mundane places that already exist. Our hope is that someday people in our community will demand richness in design that shapes the fabric of our city, making it ultimately a better place to live.This artistic piece helps tie downtown together with activity and interest while development of the new Ballet West building is on its way.” – AIA Utah YAF
“The Young Architects Forum held a competition over a year ago, we had over 60 entries, 13 different countries, 25 from other states, and the winner came from here in Utah!” – AIA Utah YAF
“This project’s genesis was simple, Salt Lake County had set aside money for temporary improvements to the lot adjacent to Capitol Theater, those improvements consisted primarily of vegetation, and screening the site until construction began on Ballet West.We as the Young Architects Forum saw this as a huge opportunity to get involved in our community, so we asked if we could hold a design competition to create a refuge in our city that produced an experience beyond the mundane experiences that exist all over our city.We believed it was possible to take a vacant lot that was perceived as a nuisance and transform it into something special, something that people within the city could engage with.We had the amazing support, and vision of both Salt Lake County Center for the Arts, and Salt Lake City Arts Council see the idea through to its completion. It is the dedication of the County and the City and their faith in young designers that made this idea become a reality.” – AIA Utah YAF
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