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New Directions in Public Art, Part 1

We’re excited to be exploring some new directions in public art that aren’t often explored by our industry:

Entire parks and urban entertainment districts

It has been typical to fill sculpture parks and city districts with a variety of art types by different artists, each individually commissioned. In many cases the diversity of scales, materials and forms ‘works’ for the setting. But there are some situations that call for the opposite approach, namely continuity between many artpieces to achieve a sense of coherence for an entire park. Creative Machines is pleased to have created all the art for an upcoming park in Port St. Lucie:

Another case for a singular guiding vision is existing urban districts that already have a diversity of architectural styles and scales. Creative Machines recently designed a comprehensive series of artworks and a vocabulary of shapes for Denver’s Theatre District. We will create a handful of these; but the rest will be created in collaboration with other artists to include their voices, while using the palette of materials, colors and forms we’ve established. We hope to give the entire Theatre District a coherence that plays itself out in free-standing sculpture, 2D art, and suspended pieces:

Immersive municipal structures

The typical public art approach to bridges and towers has been bolting decorations onto familiar forms. For a recent project we saw the opportunity to create a more immersive sculptural experience by designing the art before the structural elements were detailed.

Creating Machines: rendering concept design.

This approach allows us to integrate the art seamlessly into the overall design of the bridge to create a cohesive and visually striking structure, considering the art as an integral part of the design process. Additionally, by designing the art before the structural elements are detailed, we are able to take into account the practical considerations of the structure, such as weight and wind load.

2D/3D Murals

We love murals. They are everywhere in Tucson, including our studio. But wouldn’t it be exciting to add elements that push out from the mural surface? Wouldn’t it be extraordinary if these elements cast moving colored light onto the mural as the sun moved through the sky?

That's the idea behind these mural concepts we are creating that combine traditional 2D murals with three-dimensional dichroic forms that project changing colors throughout the day. This approach creates an interactive and dynamic experience, one that changes and evolves with the movement of the sun.

By adding these sculptural elements that push out from the mural surface, we can create a three-dimensional aspect to the mural, adding depth and interest. The integration of colored light adds an additional layer of visual interest, creating a truly unique and captivating experience for viewers. This type of mural would not only be a beautiful addition to the community, but it would also be an educational tool, providing an interactive learning experience about the effects of light and shadow.

This Creative Machines article is the first in a three-part series covering the new directions in public art.

In Part 2, we’ll share:

· art for off-grid locations

· a sculpture that makes new sculptures

· using NFTs to create evolving public art

In Part 3, we’ll share:

· human powered kinetic sculptures

· 3D printing permanent sculptures - a casting approach

· a sculptural community center

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published on January 12, 2023

© Creative Machines



Our experienced team of artists, architects, project managers, engineers, and fabricators are waiting to hear from you. Whether you have questions, are requesting a quote, or need information about a custom interactive experience, we want to hear from you!


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