Emerging practices and their designers and visual artists were invited to submit work for the inaugural Design Seaport, a biennial juried competition that calls design professionals to create public art that engages, inspires, and unites the community through an immersive, shared experience.
Two exuberant, larger than life installations by emerging area design teams, CO-G and Studio Sean Canty, are now on display, inviting all who visit Seaport this spring to be immersed in exciting, shared experiences. Presented by WS Development and OverUnder, with support from the Boston Society of Architects, the Mayor’s Office for New Urban Mechanics, and the Boston Art Commission, Design Seaport features two unique interactive works that visually shift with the activity of its surroundings.
Designer: Elle Gerdeman, CO—G
Located in Harbor Way
A colorful ‘puffy’ pavilion has arrived at Seaport’s Harbor Way. Somewhere between New England cedar shingles and the loose fit of a favorite pair of jeans, the pavilion speaks to the familiarity and nostalgia of our collective favorite things. A structure standing 13 feet tall utilizes a bright cobalt frame to suspend 80 puffy shingles filled with recycled denim insulation and other fabric waste. A layer of shredded, recycled foam wraps the pavilion in a chromatic speckling. Casually draped over the frame, each puffy shingle invites visitors to walk, bump, hug, and lounge freely between the soft, pillow-like walls. Creating a space within a place, the multi-layered shingled panels invite conversation around being “inside” versus “outside” and seek to create an experience of pulling back the curtain to enter or exit. Accompanying benches will live inside and outside of the pavilion, encouraging guests to socially distance while they take pause and observe their surroundings.
The puffy shingles, constructed of transparent marine vinyl and cobalt canvas, carry lavender stitching patterns reminiscent of quilting, an art form and medium for storytelling. In this installation, the quilt comes to life vertically to create a larger space for people to gather, have a conversation, and share their stories. Following its use at the Seaport, all insulation will take on another life and be re-used and installed permanently in a neighborhood building this autumn. www.co-g.co
About Elle Gerdeman | CO—G
Elle Gerdeman is a licensed architect, Design Critic in Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, founder of CO—G Architects, and recently named “Next Progressives” by Architect Magazine. The work of her studio, CO—G, produces architecture that is simultaneously familiar and unusual, even mischievous—through material, cultures of construction, and maintenance. Gerdeman held the Rotch fellowship, where her continued research examines cultural production amongst regional identity and altered resources through the lens of weather. Previously, she taught studios at MIT exploring design through alternate forms of representation and authorship and as Associate at Höweler+Yoon, led architecture and public art projects in Dubai, Shanghai, and the US. This included FloatLab, a submersible ring designed to experience a contaminated river, which won a Progressive Architecture Award, and the 2020 Empathy Pavilion in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab. She worked in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Rotterdam, where at OMA she contributed on the Timmerhaus Cultural Center, the Qatar National Library, and the Venice Biennale. Her work has been exhibited and published internationally, including the Hong Kong Shenzhen Biennale, ACADIA 2014, and Gallery A4 Tokyo. Gerdeman received a Master of Architecture from Harvard University GSD with commendation and a BFA in Design with arts and computation with honors from Miami University. www.co-g.co
Designer: Sean Canty, Studio Sean Canty
Located at Sea Green Park
Studio Sean Canty has created Edgar’s Shed, an open-ended pavilion that invites performance, pause, and play in Sea Green Park. The installation draws inspiration from the unusual asymmetrical shape of a shed that was designed and built by the architect’s great grandfather, Edgar. Instead of housing storage or construction items, Edgar’s Shed is designed as a welcoming performance space that plays with scale and geometry to shape an installation that enables people to gather, and to be together, while apart.
Edgar’s Shed is a 12’ x 20’ x 10’ painted plywood structure that sits directly on the grass at Sea Green Park with a range of unique spaces for its visitors to explore. While Edgar’s Shed is miniature in size, its material palette and textures are maximal. From afar, the pavilion may look like an object that has been dropped into the landscape; up close visitors get a sense of the pavilion as an inhabitable space. This open-ended pavilion invites chance (if distant) encounters by blurring the enclosure and scale of a familiar space.
Playing with straight and curved walls, the “shed” creates a space that blurs the line between being inside and outside. The shape of the pavilion is created by rotating an asymmetrical gable. The gable drops on one side to produce a façade and is open on the other side which provides a space for events. Two walls support the roof which shapes three varied porches underneath: one askew, one curved, and one rectangular. The porches offer respite from the sun and shelter from inclement weather. Various furniture sprinkled inside and around the pavilion invite guests to stay a while. A large skylight bisects the center of the shed while oversized shingles form the roof, opening the interior of the pavilion to the sky, and, in effect, making the miniature pavilion open to all. www.seancanty.net
About Sean Canty | Studio Sean Canty
Sean Canty founded Studio Sean Canty in 2017. The studio is a design practice that activates environments by conjoining discrete geometries, materials, and architectural types. Canty is a Designer and Assistant Professor of Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he teaches architectural design in the Core Design Studios. Prior to joining the faculty at the GSD, Canty held teaching positions at the Cooper Union, University California Berkeley, and California College of the Arts. In addition to architectural design, Canty has taught classes on descriptive geometry and design media. Canty is one of the founding principals of Office III (OIII), an experimental architectural collective that spans New York, San Francisco, and Cambridge. Selected as a finalist for the 2016 MoMA PS1 Young Architects competition, OIII has completed a Welcome Center for Governors Island and exhibited work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Prior to founding these studios, Canty was a Project Designer at IwamotoScott Architecture in San Francisco. With IwamotoScott, he led commercial projects for clients including Pinterest, Bloomberg, and HeavyBit and oversaw residential projects including the Goto House and Noe Valley Residence. Canty received an M.Arch from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and a B.Arch from California College of the Arts. www.seancanty.net