We were invited by our good friend Sandra Vivanco—Principal at A+D, and Associate Professor at California College of the Arts—to provide technical assistance and collaborative help with a project her students created for the 2012 San Francisco Carnaval parade. We were excited to be involved; given the opportunity Barker O’Donoghue will turn our hand at building just about anything.
The students’ concept combines the 2012 theme— “Crossing Borders, Bridging Cultures” —with the Year of the Water Dragon (we think it looks like a digital analog of a wave breaking). Throughout design development, the team worked closely with a group of high school students from Out- of-Site, a non-profit devoted to teaching art in San Francisco public schools.
The sculpture’s formal articulation was conceived intuitively through a series of physical and three-dimensional models, and was carefully refined in response to structural considerations and dimensional constraints. The resulting exoskeleton merges a free form with a geometric grid, creating a sense of tension and playful drama, embodying the culture of Carnaval.
The desire for homogenous materiality surfaced early in the design process as a means of evoking a sense of unified continuity and movement, supporting the structure’s dual purpose: a kinetic sculpture moving through the Mission street parade, and an installation piece designed to create both interior and exterior environments. Through a series of material explorations, birch plywood was selected as the primary material.
The final design is a culmination of intuitive design informed by structural considerations and refined by qualities inherent to the chosen materiality and the process of making.
Size: 30ft L x 8ft W x 9ft H (at its highest point)
Material: Baltic birch plywood, steel hardware
CCA Studio Spring 2012: Body in Spectacle
– Professor: Sandra Vivanco A+D
– Lead student designers: Chris Baas, Kat VanCleave
– Student Team: Emily Alongi, Vincent Nieto, Matthew Puckett, Oscar Ramirez, Hugh Vanho