Windward Threshold

2015
This installation has a friendly and relaxed character with an assimilative attitude toward the site and cultural context of the Village at Westfield Topanga.  It draws from the light canvas canopies and thin steel brise soleils around it, and carefully reconfigures these elements to become a new arrangement of the same language, a gently moving matrix of small sails fastened to thin, pliable rods. To support the installation, a light, tubular steel structure is hung behind the two columns in order to maintain the columns’ presence of weightlessness toward the lobby and outdoor living room.  The pliable carbon composite rods then attach to this structure by stainless steel gimbal mount connections so that when the light-weight, recycled polyester sails fill with air, the rods bend like fishing poles and produce movements of bobbing up and down and swaying from side to side.  This matrix of sails and rods is hung at the height of the nearby canopies so that its protrusion from behind the columns produces an airy, levitating volume that imparts an intimate scale to the space of the outdoor living room beneath it.
 
The installation must function as a threshold between the intimacy of this living room, the expanse of the sky above, and the infrastructure of the escalators behind, so its sails are made operable by both the natural wind of its outside environment, and (when that wind is not present) an artificial manipulation of the recycled polyester rod stabilizing mesh from the structure behind; both acts can animate the entire matrix of sails with their attached rods and gimbal counterweights, making the installation bob and sway back and forth with a calm, cool, atmospheric effect like those of grasses being blown by a light wind.  The sails are ordered by their graded blue-purple hues, and contribute to the cool, relaxed atmosphere while recalling the local California Lilac (shrubs of which should be planted in the planters beneath the installation).  Though the side of the installation facing the escalators has been referred to as being the behind in relation to the outdoor living room, it is by no means neglected, as the movements of the sail matrix will create reciprocal movements in their attached gimbal counterweights, making the escalator facade a gallery of quiet, sentient, mechanical devices that move gracefully in unison like a valley brimming with pumpjacks.  The installation is then activated by its natural environment on one side and its mechanical environment on the other, uniting the efforts of the city with forces of nature in the operation of this friendly threshold.
Conceptual flag patterns generated from various environmental conditions.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The State of California recently passed a law banning single-use plastic bags from many shopping destinations as a way to curb pollution and waste.  Each of the sails in the installation will be created using a process for recycling plastic from shopping bags to communicate the sustainable philosophy of Westfield Topanga.
Flag material will use locally sourced plastic recycled from shopping and grocery bags.  The bags are first shredded into fine particulates which are then melted and pressed into sheets
 
 
 
 
Plastic shopping bags are collected at many local shopping destinations.  The bags are shredded and cast into composite fibers. The fibers are woven into fabric textiles and used as the material for the sails on the installation.
Front Elevation
 
 
 
 
Section detail of mobile flag assembly
 
 
 
 
Axonometric view of installation in a static position.
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