Case Studies: Custom color hose defines public art at L.A. fashion mart

Green Urethane “Stems” Define Public Art at L.A. Fashion Mart

The exhibit is larger than life, almost surreal. Vibrant, bodacious flowers cascading from the rafters of the Los Angeles Fashion Mart like a fantasy scene from Jack and the Beanstalk. “Sprung” is Electroland’s interactive public art project and the brain-child of West L.A.-based Electroland, whose Principal Cameron McNall and Partner Damon Seeley delegated production responsibility to Matthew Au.

One key element to the massive floral exhibit: The stems. “We had this concept of these hanging flowers in mind and we knew they were going to be large” Mr. Au explains. The stems had to be strong enough to support the exhibit and be outdoor rated because the L.A. Fashion Mart, like many California buildings, incorporates an open-air atrium. Mr. Au comments, “Sometimes with projects like these you call people and they’re a little shocked at what you want to do and they don’t want to work with you.”

– Keyword Search –

Matthew’s keyword internet search for “ducts” led him to Masterduct, an innovative technical hose manufacturer in Houston, Texas. Rich Cunningham at Masterduct became Electroland’s partner as Mr. Au created his stems. “Sprung” began to flourish. “On top of Masterduct having an amazing product, Rich was very easy to work with,” Matthew comments. “Rich sent me a catalog of colors, and soon we had five or six greens to choose from.”

– Cartoon-like “Stems” –

The total order was for 1,600 feet of Master-PUR medium thickness urethane hose. There is a minimum order quantity for special colors that varies due to diameter, color choice and other factors. “Master-PUR was just an incredible product with really thick ribbing, almost like something you would see in a cartoon. You don’t read it as a hose when you see it…you don’t actually know what it is,” Au explains. “Once we had the green color that Masterduct offered us, we were then able to customize the other elements around the stems so the hoses had a pretty strong influence.”

– Interactive Experience –

“Sprung” is comprised of 22 highly interactive flowers. Each flower contains a small sensor that allows a person passing by to activate a sound excerpt and dazzling light show unique to each flower. RGB (Red Green Blue) lights concealed by a light diffuser display a large array of colors. Giant pans hold electronics behind the flowers. Spikes projecting from the stems attach to vast, translucent petals that cause a cascade of color to flood the L.A. Fashion Mart.

- On Display for Over a Year -

Installed in January 2009, “Sprung” is a permanent fixture at the Los Angeles Fashion Mart. The Electroland team checks on the L.A. flower exhibit often since it is right in the backyard of Electroland’s artistic playground. “Research took me to Masterduct,” Mr. Au explains. “If we ever had a project with a similar scope as ‘Sprung’ we would definitely go with Masterduct.”