This series of signs was an exercise in brand-driven experiential signage. Craftforce is a startup company based in Maysville KY offering an online social network designed specifically to link individual craftsmen with clients and projects. Within a year of conception, the company was featured on The Discovery Channel and the first of these signs was designed for filming. Its linear composition of 120 individually shaped aluminum plates spell out the brand through optical illusion as one moves past, in reference to the multitude of craftsmen that make the network thrive. In keeping with the company’s goals, these signs share a common design language intended to showcase the craftsmanship involved in their production.
Star City Clock
The Star City Clock was inspired by the complex beauty of the natural world; a beauty defined by physical or genetic rules and formed from intricate systems of gracefully interconnected parts. It began life as the research project "Genetic Recursion" and was developed to its current state with Nathan Currier-Groh at Basermatter llc.
Each are crafted from a sheet of resilient polypropylene plastic which is uniquely painted and laser-cut into twenty four parts. The parts are then folded along scored lines and interconnected with unique locking slots to produce the final form. It was sold both assembled and in kit form. As hoped, the kits have proven to be popular based on the value added through the accomplishment of completing the puzzle.
Continuum OTR is a new design/lifestyle gallery in the heart of Cincinnati’s Over the Rhine neighborhood. To provide them the street presence they needed, this sign was sculpted to produce a dynamic experience of their brand as it is approached. It is simply a continuum of their logo, made of aluminum and powdercoated white. True to intention, the spacing and multiplicity of its parts create moire patterns as the viewer moves around it.
This project added a new dimension to the capabilities of Modularem. It is a concrete and steel kitchen island commissioned by Amazon inc. and installed in their MyHabit photo studio. Modularem collaborated with Amazon designers on the interior design of the break room and the island reflects the intended aesthetic theme developed in that process. The board-formed concrete and steel lend a warm permanence to the space through a careful expression of the wood used to form the slabs, highlighted through an innovative multi-step staining and sealing process. The casting process, carried out entirely by Modularem, is therefore inherently evident in the final form. Multiple Amazon employees have reported being pleasantly surprised to discover it is made of concrete, a fact revealed only after close observation or physical contact, proving the experience produced to be engaging and provocative.
This is a comprehensive design proposal for a new Material Library at the University of Cincinnati's College of Design Art Architecture and Planning. This design was carried out professionally with the intention of revamping an unused space to offer students a rich material based education. The following is a series of excerpts from the design manual delivered at the end of the design process:
"Material parameters are where design opportunity exists. A material’s inherent qualities should not be seen as limitations but as design parameters. Defaulting to a material’s traditional application reflects limitations of the mind, not of the matter around us. The known properties of materials offer endless design opportunity and we have only begun to unlock the numerous latent properties stored within the materials around us. Great designers summon the intrinsic parameters of materials to confront the limitations of the mind. The Material Library should express the unending potential of simple materials to perplex and amaze.
Instead of just “showing” material samples, the library should help establish a lifelong comfort level with materials and the ability to unlock their potential. It should encourage a methodology for experimenting with and discovering the potential of materials. Great design advancements come from unlocking material potential, not assuming limitations.
Because there is ongoing development of the sourcing and organizational systems of a larger DAAP Material Library, the storage system has been designed to facilitate a wide range of ongoing development in the other areas. It is a fluid and adaptable system of organization, storage and display that can be reassembled infinitely to accommodate ongoing change and adaptation. The systemic aspect of the solution is all encompassing to the design. Essentially, it is a kit-of-parts system which, unlike any achieved in the past, will has many parts and a genetic, complex assembly strategy. Parametric Scripting is unnecessary to achieve a complex and organic whole if the parts themselves embody the variable and parameter functions of a digital script. It will be expandable, movable and dynamic.
Although initially focused and tested in room 8220, the Library-as-System is not constrained to the space but will be able to slowly grow and populate the entire building. Similar to moss or lichen, it will have a distinct genetic identity and structure but it will grow and spread to wherever the nutrients are right. Literally speaking, the storage system will be able to attach to walls, sit on floors or hang from ceilings, all while maintaining the structural DNA that identifies it as the Material Library. It will populate DAAP according to individual department or faculty interest and their effort to sustain it (nutrients). Students have access to online data anywhere they are and this will be reflected in the disperse nature of the new library. It will not be a room destination but a database destination and system aesthetic that will tie the whole organism together.
The Library System and the functional space it inhabits are fully integrated. The current room is not contextual in any way and therefore the Material Library System defines the spatial experience. It is important to note that the Library System is a storage system that has the ability to create space according to its own parameters. It is not an infinitely variable formal surface that can also be storage. This Part-to-Whole design process defines the essence of the project’s place in the contemporary context. It is outdated to form organic blobs and then apply meaningless materials to them and the results are never as holistic and multi-functional as this storage solution. The DNA that defines the Library System will be dynamic enough to also define furniture and other elements. However, to further express the intended connection between great design and material parameters, specific high-design chairs populate the space based on the revolutionary nature of their materials."
Hex Storage System
Pallet 23 is a multi-functioning entertainment and production facility in Cincinnati Ohio. Because of a focus on attracting high end, pop-up dinners and catered events, the kitchen became an important and highly visible part of the interior development. This kitchen island was co-developed by Modularem founder Jeff Welch and Nathan Currier-Groh at BaserMatter Llc to be both an energetic art piece as well as a functional cooking and dining surface. An important parameter in its development was a pre-existing stockpile of pre-cut walnut boards supplied by the client. These were utilized to achieve an intentional curtain like aesthetic, a theme derived from the video production and theatrical entertainment functions of the space. The diminishing gradient in panel size is both aesthetic and functional as it produces a dynamic repetition pattern and grows wider where it is responsible for supporting more of the solid surface. Not unexpectedly, the construction and joinery details are visible and finessed. For quick on-site assembly, many of the connections relied on simple wedges pushed through holes to lock the parts together and these became an important visual detail. It comfortably accommodates seven people and has proven to be a conversational and valuable aspect of Pallet 23s operations.
Findlay Market Sculpture Proposal
Although not chosen for the award, this is a proposal submitted to a competition held to produce a sculpture to enhance Cincinnati's Findlay Market.
The concept presented here is two part. One takes the form of an old and stoic tree - built as large as budget and space allows. It is gnarly and massive, with whimsical beauty. It will embody a history of survival in its dynamic ecosystem, a history known to the market as well. The second part is a series of “seedlings” that pop up throughout the market as an ever present symbol of rebirth. As siblings of the tree, they are of the same construction but straight and youthful, showing newness but sharing the DNA of the Old. Several will be distributed and experienced throughout the Market to build a sense of place.
The construction of the work will be both traditional and highly contemporary, bridging the gap between old and new. It will be constructed of hundreds of patinaed, triangular Corten Steel plates connected with industrial rivets. As a geometric system, intentional space between the panels would make the massive trunk become diaphanous upon closer inspection. The materials reflect the industrial heritage of the city and match the market building, which was built of riveted iron. However, the material process would involve robotic plasma-cutting and the faceted skin pattern would be generated algorithmically, placing it securely among the ranks of cutting edge contemporary theory in both art and architecture. Led Lighting would be incorporated into the leaves to push it even further into the realm of new and exciting experience.
As with all of my work, the elements of this proposal are at once poetic, aesthetic and functional. The parent tree would be designed to shade and protect a large area, light it at night and collect rainwater to nourish the numerous plantings already seen at the Market. The addition of a second tree would create a gateway, framing the entrance of the market with the arches of the branches. The “Seedlings” could be seats, drinking fountains, bollards or numerous other small utility installations. In the future, more could be built and placed throughout the city as a form of branding for the market, being functional and iconic outposts of the ever-expanding goals of the Market.