Work Begins on the 3D Sculpture Wall - Creating a Work of Art

September 10, 2011 - Well, we are down to the last major job on the building - the creation of a 3D sculpture wall on the east side (front) of the building. This wall will be made from a series of aluminum panels arranged in a pattern similar to a Mondrian painting. We wanted to make a statement on the front wall, and worked on literally dozens of patterns until we came up with one we all agreed was the winner.

Before we go into more detail about the wall and the panels we are building for it, our good news this week was the completion of the Cyc wall. The most difficult part of any infinity wall is the corner where all walls meet. It has to be perfectly round, that is not an easy task to achieve. In our case it took 5-6 coats of Sheetrock mud applied over several days. Before a new coat could be applied, the previous coat had to be sanded. The results were worth the work - we can't wait to shoot video and photos in the studio.

This week we also installed 3 interior doors, completed some work on the exterior walls, did some interior painting and got to check off several items on our punch-list.

Now for some details on the sculpture wall we started building this week. The germ for this idea came from an article that appeared in Architectural Digest magazine which included the interior wall around a fireplace of a famous athlete's home. This gave us the idea to include lights under each panel, and vary the depth of the panels.  We also drew inspiration from Margo Sawyer's Synchronicity of Color - two large installations in Discovery Park located in downtown Houston. Some of our panels will project from the wall just an inch, while others will be 2, 4 or 6 inches from the wall. There will be a 1 inch gutter between the panels.

To make the wall "come alive" we will use colored LED lights under the panels which can be controlled remotely. Earlier in the week, I met with Peter Shi, the owner of Elite LED Supply, a lighting specialty wholesaler here in Houston.  Peter spent a great deal of time with me at his shop demonstrating the options available for our project. I bought one string of lights from him for a test. Peter really understands LED lights and has offered to visit our site to insure we are using the right lighting scheme for our project.

You can see some of the reference materials we used in designing the wall, and the step by step process of creating the wall panels in the photos to your right. We begin with the design. Sebastian did quite a bit of research on the work of Piet Mondrain. After we settled on a design, Adam color coded the panels to make sure the design works, and he started to cut the panels to the right size. The Mitsubishi ALPOLIC Aluminum Composite Panels come 16' long by 50" wide, and are silver in color.

They are first cut to size using the panel saw. After they are cut, the edge of each side of the panel is routed using a Dewalt biscuit cutter and a special blade that was made just for this purpose. We have already gone through one router (which is now being rebuilt by Dewalt) on this job. Once the routing is done, the corner of each panel is removed and sides folded 90 degrees. Self-tapping screws are used that hold the corner angle in place.

While the panels are being built, the small aluminum angles are drilled, and cut to size. These angles will be screwed into the sides of the panel, then screwed into the OSB board on the exterior wall. We will leave a 1" gutter between each panel. We will use this gutter to run the LED lights from panel to panel. Next week we will continue building panels, and when we have enough for the first row of the wall, we will install them. Once they are up on the wall, we can better determine if our design and concept that look so good on paper, actually works in the real world.



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