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Inside Art Center’s Open House

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The exhibition “Open House: Architecture and Technology for Intelligent Living” is a contemporary take on the “Home of Tomorrow” concept–it even opens with dozens of actual models you’ll recognize from those flickery 60s movies. There’s one by Bucky Fuller and the Monsanto House that used to be at Disneyland (until it was torn down, waah). But after a little history lesson, the content shifts to the exciting concepts of ten design teams instructed to envision living spaces 30 years from now. Our hands-down favorite was the creation of Joel Sanders, Karen van Lengen and sound designer Ben Rubin which turns the home into a giant microphone where residents can capture and mix ambient sounds to connect with their environment. Finally, the third portion of the exhibition poses questions to the audience along one long wall about their visions for the future of the home.

All of this takes place, quite miraculously, in the Art Center’s South Campus, which is named the Wind Tunnel for a very good reason–it used to be one. That’s a big, dark, empty, echo-y 16,000 square foot footprint with 60-foot ceilings. The show–which originated at the Vitra Museum in Germany–was adapted to this large white box by UeBERSEE (that’s “over sea”). Last night Nik Hafermaas, Boris von Bormann, Jamie Barlow and Carolina Trigo walked an attentive audience through the challenges, like scaling the space to human-size and down again to serve the tiny models, stringing fluorescent lights close to the exhibits using a cable car-like web, and guaranteeing accuracy when water jet-cutting the perforated typeface into the floor-to-ceiling panels. (The answer to the last one is lots of X-acto work by hand.) Good questions after the presentation–and there were a lot of them–were rewarded with custom police tape printed with messages like CONNECT TO YOUR CITY. We snagged a roll in blue.

Hafermaas passed along plenty of photos he shot with Jessica Haye…


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