This project, Wonder Wall, is located at the intersection between architectural and graphic form. It explores the large-scale visual effects that can be produced when two-dimensional graphic patterns are translated into three-dimensional constructions. Specifically, Wonder Wall translates a swatch of tartan fabric into a gyrating wall made out of interlocked strips of perforated colored aluminum. The intersecting vertical and horizontal strips of aluminum gently twist to form a 9’x9’x1’-8” grid with multiple overlapping conditions. As the aluminum overlaps, new colors begin to emerge and a gradient field of porous openings rotates in relationship to the viewer. Wonder Wall slips between two and three dimensions into a space of 2.5D where visual effects emerge from the specificities of material construction.
While tartan serves as a model for developing a graphic tectonic, it also serves as a foundation for conceptual development. Tartan is an overtly political textile. The color and bandwidth pattern of a particular piece of fabric is culturally associated with a specific family or ‘clan’. For instance, the Balmoral tartan is the official tartan of the Royal Family and should not be worn without the prior consent of the Queen. The potential for tartan to denote pedigree has given it symbolic meaning that, in some instances, is used to subvert conventions of hierarchy. It was the fabric of choice for Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren in the early 70’s when they were defining the image of punk. It’s the only fabric that, when constructed into a skirt, allows the garment to look perfectly natural when worn by a man. The bandwidth pattern of Wonder Wall is a riff on the ‘Robin Hood’ tartan, an orphaned tartan not associated with a particular family or clan and thereby open to all.
Project Designer: Heather Flood, F-lab, Los Angeles
Heather Flood is a designer of information, graphics, and architecture. Her work integrates the disciplines and techniques of cultural research, graphic art, and architectural design to create experientially dense environments. In 2007 she formed F-lab, a research based design practice committed to the production of architectural form and its relationship to contemporary culture, both pop and sub.
In addition to her professional practice, Heather Flood teaches design studios and visual studies seminars at SCI-Arc, the Southern California Institute of Architecture.
Design Team: Heather Flood and Juanita Estrada
Fabrication Team: Heather Flood, Louie Bofill, Joseph Chiafari, Ted Di Girolamo, Luisana Hernandez, Andy Lemus, Dan Lu, Matthew Momberger, Andres Regens, Joao Valez, and Peter Wade.