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nights of neon

Passing Me By

Designed to be a luminous and captivating illusion based experience...

Nights of neon

‘Passing Me By’ is a performative timber lattice installation that takes the form of a 1.9m high x 8m long wall. The work was shown at the last Wellington Lux Light Festival for ten days for the duration of the festival.

The complex fin pattern was inspired by cloud imagery, where the pattern evokes movement, depth and change. Each timber component is unique and is digitally cut out using CNC fabrication technology. This allows each piece to vary slightly in height, angle and surface treatment.

2017 Wellington Lux Light Festival

During the night, this means that from certain angles, the fluoro timber fins alter and shift sightlines so as the observer walks past, the fluorescent fins appear to flutter and move, transitioning from pink to yellow or vice versa; this is an illusion as the structure is fixed in form.

The installation was conceived out of continued/iterative research, originating in 2013 when makers, Chris and Jae, were awarded Victoria University Scholarships in research for Timber CNC jointing technology through the implementation of parametric digital design tools.

timber lattice installation - 1

‘Passing Me By’ is their latest collaborative work as part of Makers of Architecture, proving that via digital design and manufacturing tools, complex installations can be manufactured and assembled in a previously thought unattainable way. ‘Passing Me By’ as a result provides an experience; one that promotes movement interaction through light and colour interpretation, engagement, observation, and imagination.

‘Passing Me By’ was designed to be a luminous and captivating illusion based experience. The introduction of contrasting colour allowed the fins to be directional, enabling the shifting fins to be clearly experienced and read through movement when passing by. Fluorescent colour was the most attractive choice due to its ability to glow and become accentuated when illuminated by black light. It still also allowed the installation to look good during the daylight hours as well.

timber lattice installation - 2

Metro were consulted around the best lighting to allow the colour to glow and be read effectively. When the black light was introduced the glowing fins became transformed and were interpreted with fineness, becoming beautiful and effective.

Two prototypes were undertaken to check the plywood timber fins and structural lattice jointing tolerances. This enabled the installation components to be assembled with frictional jointing and glue as opposed to mechanical or screw fixings.

timber lattice installation - 3

Trial swatches of the Resene FX Fluoro colours were applied to the prototypes to test colour effectiveness and the optimal number of coats required. The timber plywood sheets were painted before being cut on the CNC machine, creating a very crisp edge to each cut fin. Each fin and structural lattice component was code tagged individually (using CNC etching) to identify where it belonged within the greater structure.

The installation’s specific location meant it could not be fixed into the ground, so structural engineering was needed to ensure stability, structural timber and weights for bracing were integrated behind the wall to support it.

timber lattice installation - 4

Resene paints were used on every part of the installation except for the CNC cut fin edges which were left uncoated. Undercoating in Resene Lumbersider White enabled the optimum glow from the Resene FX Fluoro Pink and FX Fluoro Yellow topcoats. Resene Lumbersider Black was used as a backdrop colour to the structural lattice, allowing the fluoro finished areas to stand out effectively.

timber lattice installation - 5

Passing By Me by Makers of Architecture was awarded the Resene Total Colour Product – Installation – Experiential Exterior Award. The judges said “created for the LUX festival, this project plays to the darkness. Usually paint colours would be lost to the darkness, but using blacklit fluoro paint, this static installation appears to come to life as the night descends. Using just three colours and a cleverly crafted concave design, the installation seems to flutter. Harnessing a ‘Mona Lisa’ effect curve it gives you the sense you are seeing something different as you move by."

Architectural specifier: Makers of Architecture
Building contractor: Makers Fabrication
Client: LUX Light Festival
Photographer: Jae Warrander
Other key contributor – lighting: Metro Lighting
Other key contributor – plywood: Summit Ply
Other key contributor – structural engineer: Silvester Clark Consulting Engineers, supplied by LUX Light Festival
Winner: Resene Total Colour Product – Installation – Experiential Exterior Award
Project: Resene Total Colour Awards 2017
From the Resene News – issue 01/2018

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