Space & Installation
September 1-7, 2013
The Foundry (Adjacent to Milstein Hall)
An exterior installation and public seating element on Cornell’s campus with a landscape-inspired design, presented by Katie MacDonald (B.Arch. '13) and Kyle Schumann, (B.Arch. '13), Lightwave aims to bring the art of spectacle into the utilitarian typology of public seating while also providing a highly accessible long-term public art installation in the heart of campus.
Nestled between gorges and a glacial lake, Cornell’s campus is defined by a landscape of rock and water. The water, in constant motion, has shaped the immovable rock into rugged shapes and steep ravines. From this sublime landscape, a new furniture emerges, a wave of water breaking through the rock.
A grid of square timbers forms an undulating wavelike surface. The surface’s crests and troughs provide a variety of seating alcoves, spaces for sitting, laying, lounging, climbing, and viewing. The vertical timbers are defined by a grid of gaps, allowing light to penetrate and soak into the seating. The seemingly disjunct members are bolted together with an interior metal structure of tension rods which allows segments of the furniture to cantilever off the ground as the wave crests, creating the illusion of timbers floating in midair.
The interior sides of the timbers are painted a variety of bright colors, creating a dazzling range of colored light which appears to emerge from within the furniture, an effect that is augmented at night with a system of lights embedded within the grid. The furniture is made of a local pine timber, which will mature from a clean blonde to a weathered grey patina, transforming with age as it slowly adjusts to the site.
Born of Ithaca’s sublime terrain, Lightwave is both an ode and an invitation; it celebrates the landscape with mimicry and welcomes the public with luminous splendor.