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Unique structures for a performance art installation

Project Briefs | October 1, 2013 | By:

Rainier Industries designs unique interlocking structures for performance art installation.

Seven custom-designed, interconnected structures by Rainier Industries, Seattle, Wash., provided the space for a unique experiential performance art installation debuting at the Luminato Festival in Toronto, Ont., Canada, in June.

The structures were designed to guide participants through a series of intense exercises and experiences based on the Abramovic Method, a performing arts approach that empowers participants to create their own performance experience. The complicated geometry of the connected structures, combined with aesthetic requirements, resulted in a complex design-build process.

The cantilevered floor structure was designed with an integrated anchoring system and included self-leveling capabilities. The flooring system was created from interlocking SIPS and plywood panels that maintained the seven radial line theme of the buildings’ design.

An insulating layer in the walls and ceilings muted exterior sounds, and a smooth, white interior fabric liner contributed to a visually neutral environment. The project included 12 doors, including a specially designed main door that was 6 by 8 feet with a rotating center hinge and magnetic closures. The structures included both steel and aluminum elements and were engineered to meet Toronto code requirements. All visible structural elements were powder coated or painted to match the design.

Once the basic design criteria were finalized, design, production and installation happened over 10 weeks. Fabric installation required five days, with Rainier staff supervising a local crew. Additional days were needed for utilities, access and interior display build-out.

And while a typical structure would be considered complete at that point, Jorn Weisbrodt, artistic director of the Luminato Festival, explained in a YouTube video that this art installation is only complete with its audience or participants—with the fabric structures becoming part of a work of art through their use.

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