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, Teltta and Supernormal, are now on display, inviting all who visit Seaport this winter 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. Through the influence of light or distance, the works create an inclusive connection with the neighborhood.
I’m For You (User Friendly) by Supernormal
Located in the One Seaport Courtyard
I’m for You (User Friendly) by Supernormal explores physical and digital closeness in the public realm in a year characterized by social distancing, systemic loneliness and political polarization. The work, situated in the One Seaport courtyard, presents itself in two parts. A soft, corporeal form dubbed “the Sloucher” by its designers, holds a silent conversation with a generic box that uses projection to continuously transform for its viewers. The changing surface of the box is created using artificial intelligence to generate an imagined fragment of Boston’s Seaport that alternately mimics, compliments and challenges its surroundings.
The interactive piece will occupy public space during the shortest, coldest days of the year. It is designed to be most alive, engaging, and visible during the darkest and longest nights, when light is most scarce. I’m for You (User Friendly) is a reflection on real and imagined relationships between places, people, and their machines in a time of isolation.
Supernormal is an architecture, urbanism, and design research practice. The studio is driven by a deep curiosity for our shared world and a desire to encounter social and spatial conditions with nuance and openness. Each project is a collaboration between designers and technologists who operate evenly across scales from the intimacy of human experience to neighborhood level design. Supernormal designs buildings, spaces, objects, plans, and processes that engage and celebrate the complexities of our physical and digital lives together.
WALLESSNESS by Teltta
Located on Seaport Common
WALLESSNESS, now on display on Seaport Common, dematerializes the wall by substituting masonry blocks with lightweight structural modules made by hand braiding heat-activated carbon fiber strands together with fluorescent and retro-reflective fibers. Each fiber supports the project in different ways: the carbon fibers bear the structural loads, the fluorescent fibers increase visual legibility, and the retro-reflective fibers promote an interactive dialogue with the project as flash photography from mobile devices illuminate those threads spectacularly and unexpectedly. Laced together, the diverse threads work in tandem; they are literally cut from the same cloth. WALLESSNESS is an anagram for lawlessness and transfigures a typology of exclusion and division into one of inclusion and connection.
Alexandra Waller, Nathaniel Elberfeld, and Lavender Tessmer are founding partners of the computational design and research studio TELTTA. Sharing interest and scholarship in material and labor economy, workflow optimization, and customized assemblies, their work confronts the complexities of design through comprehensive engagement with means of production, contexts, and aesthetics. They employ computational models to design processes that address the interaction of competing forces in cultural production. In addition to publishing research, they exhibit their work in galleries, museums, and public spaces.