Discovering SOFTlab


I don't know about you, but I love public art. I look forward to discovering it everywhere I go, and am always intrigued by how it interacts with a city and its people. What's really fun, is recognizing an artist's work in different places. It almost feels like running into an old friend and everything starts to feel very connected.

During a 2015 visit to New York City, this interesting sculpture caught my eye:


Nova (Photo by Alan Tansey from the SOFTlab website)



I walk through it to examine all of the beautiful details and am enchanted by the colorful, reflective underbelly. The overall shape of the thing is unpredictable, but balanced, which keeps me curious as I wander in and out. An intricate framework supports iridescent panels that capture glimpses of nearby shapes - buildings, people, and cars driving by. The aluminum exterior is held together with perfect and satisfying connections, and its surface reflects colors from the neighboring panels, creating soft pastels. I notice the creator is "SOFTlab." I have never heard of this organization, but take note of its name. 

Four years later in 2019 during a trip to see my brother in Alexandria, Virginia, I happened across this installation:


Mirror Mirror (Photo by Alan Tansey from the SOFTlab website)

Another SOFTlab creation! I walk inside and join a few others who seem to be communicating with the tinted panels. The lights change when a sound is made. I immediately join in and start playing with this effect. This eight foot high, round structure is programmed to respond to sound with light, so it becomes a collaborative piece of artwork. 

Flash forward to 2022, and I'm walking past an office building in Dallas, Texas and see this magnificent creation:



"SOFTLAB"! I gasp with excitement. I walk in to take a closer look. The joints are perfection and the hues of the multi-colored panels slowly undulate in variation. The three dimensional shapes resemble crystals and are hypnotizing to analyze. I'm such a sucker for geometric shapes. 

I hope I unexpectedly find another one of SOFTlab's creations in a different city. They are so delightful to experience. 

From their website:

"If you are partial to acronyms, you can think of SOFTlab as a Studio Of Fantastic Things and a place that fosters experimentation through our work. On the other hand, SOFTlab was created with the idea that a group of designers with diverse interests can take on a wide range of projects in exciting and unexpected ways. Rather than a large group of experts, our eclectic team relies on curiosity, difference, and experimentation to expand the bounds of what we can do with contemporary technology and ideas. Allowing us to be more nimble, malleable, and soft." 

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment