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The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
Home / Submission 1 – Synesthesia

Submission 1 – Synesthesia

Home / Submission 1 – Synesthesia

Inspiration: Synesthesia is an anomalous blending of the senses in which the stimulation of one modality simultaneously produces sensation in a different modality. Synesthetes hear colors, feel sounds, and taste shapes. Much like music is a portal to different emotions and states of mind with the potential to create unexpected connections, I wanted the sculpture to function in a similar way, only visually.

Instead of approaching this wall as a discrete solid object, I wanted to transform it into something that reflected the space, the movement, and activity of downtown Silver Spring. My goal was to make an artwork that felt like it offered many possibilities because that’s how I’d feel about going to Silver Spring when I lived in the area. By combining mirrored and transparent elements, the piece gains an illusion of depth and dimension to an otherwise 2D wall.

Fabrication: Panels of highly polished stainless steel will back the concrete wall, providing a mirrored surface that reflects the action of the park. Next a layer of laminated glass, similar to what is used in bus shelters, will sit in front of the polished steel. The glass contains a digitally printed graphic film that provides the kaleidoscopic colored effect. Projecting out perpendicular to the main wall, glass fins in steel frames will give the piece more dimension. By engaging both the horizontal and vertical planes of the wall, the sculpture has an alluring and evolving presence from all angles of the park and beyond. The sculpture extends throughout the seating area with thin colored panels attached to the columns in between the swings. All glass will be covered with a clear anti-graffiti film from 3M to ensure the artwork is easy to maintain. The columns surrounding the main wall will also have front facing glass cladding that can be backlit.

LED lighting integrated into the space between the mirrored wall and glass creates a captivating night presence, becoming a beacon for the neighborhood and offering a safe and inviting presence. LEDs offer a wide range of programmable lighting options, so that light effects can be easily changed for special events and holidays.

The materials have been chosen for outdoor durability and ease of maintenance. Mirror polished stainless steel typically has a lifespan of 30 years or more, and in this instance will be protected by the glass layer from fingerprints and scratches. Glass shares a similar lifespan, and the lamination process ensures that material resists shattering.