Inspired Design

Get a sneak peak into the creative process of three Design MMoCA participants

In 2008 and 2010, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art asked interior designers to create rooms inspired by works from its permanent collection. For this year’s Design MMoCA, the museum has opened up the showcase to graphic, industrial, product, furniture, fashion and other designers. Here’s a peek into what three participants are planning.

Wood Working

Jarod Beukelman, Design Concepts

What type of design work do you typically do?
Design Concepts is an innovation and design consultancy. We are a fifty-five-person team of strategists, researchers, designers, human factors engineers, mechanical and electrical engineers and prototype developers. We work behind the scenes with some of the biggest companies and most powerful brands in consumer goods, commercial industries and medical devices.

What work of art did you choose and why were you drawn to it?
We chose E. Roesler Franz’s Landscape with Woodgatherers. We were instantly drawn to it—it was so distinctly different than anything else we saw.   

What was your first spark of inspiration?
In the background of the landscape painting are two small figures—the wood-gatherers. You see them performing the labor-intensive task of gathering and carrying wood. As designers, we see needs and our inclination is to provide a better experience— find a better way. That’s our goal for the woodgatherers.

What’s the concept for your design?
At first, we thought of making ergonomic wood-gathering tools to improve efficiency. But that solution is a little too expected from us. We decided to ask a different question: What if it’s not the tools that change to accommodate the woodgatherer, but the wood that adapts to serve the design?

What elements are you planning to use?
We’re definitely working with wood.

What should viewers expect of your installation?
Viewers can expect fun, humor and an underlying message about using design to solve problems.

 

Seeing Red

Rick Shaver and Lee Melahn, Pleasant Living

What type of design work do you typically do?
We are interior and furniture designers who have worked for more than twenty-five years in New York City designing both residential and contract spaces. We have designed an eponymous line of contemporary furniture as well as lines for other furniture companies and countless custom designs for our interior design clients. Stylistically we span a very broad range. [Pleasant Living is their Madison retail store.]

What work of art did you choose and why were you drawn to it?
We chose a color photograph by Carl Corey [2090—At Random, Milwaukee]. His work is architectural and gritty in a way that spoke to us as designers. There was the insinuation of glamour yet it was well worn and approachable.

What was your first spark of inspiration?
Red. The color was so intense you couldn’t avoid being drawn into the photo and wanting to work with that intensity. Then the subject grabbed us and we couldn’t stop thinking about it.

What’s the concept for your design?
We’re sticking with what we know and creating a room inspired by Corey’s photograph. In our room, we’ll be using substructure and veneer to illustrate elegance. We want to show the beauty of the materials alongside the façade of glamour, juxtaposing the raw and the refined.

What are you most looking forward to in Design MMoCA?
Every time you design something the thrill is seeing your idea transform itself from paper to reality.

What should viewers expect of your installation?
We hope they have a “wow!” moment where they see something that inspires them and they walk away with a new insight into what can be beautiful, elegant and livable. We hope the association between the Carl Corey photograph and the space transforms the way each one views art within the home, not simply as decoration but an object of contemplation and inspiration.

 

Water World

Christina Robotka, John Ford and Aaron White, ERDMAN

What type of design work do you typically do?
We are designers that provide healthcare real estate solutions to clients nationwide. This varies from designing and building hospitals and clinics to assisted living and ambulatory care facilities.

What work of art did you choose and why were you drawn to it?
We chose a gelatin silver print titled Water Balance by David Goldes because of its simplicity and ambiguity.

What was your first spark of inspiration?
We were immediately drawn to the dichotomy of the metal pins’ curious positioning and the surface tension of the water. It gave way to greater inquisitiveness to the myriad properties of water: its significance, power and intrigue.

What’s the concept for your design?
Our concept reflects our interpretation of entering the center of a water splash, while evoking the subject matter of Goldes’ artwork through material selection and ambient lighting. Sheer fabric stretched from metal cables represents the surface tension of the water and the pins which balance upon it.

What elements are you planning to use?
We plan to use structural wood beams, aircraft cable, stretch fabric, a subtle color palette, fiber optic and LED lighting, and the room’s
energy to pull it all together.

What’s been the biggest challenge so far?
Adapting our designs to be constructed in a 12’x12’ gallery space has forced us to modify concepts, consider alternates and push creative options.

How has this project allowed you to stretch creatively?
We’ve created a personal space that you would typically not find in a healthcare setting, yet still feels therapeutic and relaxing.

What are you most looking forward to in Design MMoCA?
Having our design work displayed at the museum while being part of a community-wide event are highlights. We also look forward to meeting other professionals and students in the design community.

What should viewers expect of your installation?
Visitors should expect to enter our space and find a moment of serenity.

These three design teams and eleven others are participating in Design MMoCA 2012, which takes place April 26–May 6 at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. For more information, visit mmoca.org.

 

Are You Ready to Mix Media?

For Design MMoCA 2012, Madison-area designers are finding inspiration in artwork from the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s permanent collection. Madison Magazine couldn’t sit out from the art-inspired fun. Stay tuned for our upcoming August issue, the design of which will be based on Sap, a painting by Madison artist T.L. Solien.

If you’re also inspired by the vibrant work, enter Mixed Media! It’s a new contest at madisonmagazine.com/design. Take a look at Sap and create something influenced by it. Maybe it’s a cocktail, a piece of pottery or a fashion-forward outfit. Or a poem, dance or something entirely different—the sky’s the limit in this contest of creativity.

Whatever the medium, discipline or style, simply upload a photo or video of your work between March 22 and May 18. Your design will be showcased on the magazine’s website, and we will highlight a winner later this year.

 

Katie Vaughn is managing editor of Madison Magazine.

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