Archive for July, 2011

New Studio

We recently secured a new space down the hall, upgrading from our current 2,000 square feet to nearly 4,000. Currently renovating, we plan to move into the new space in mid-August.

45 Park Lane Façade Art Panels

Situ Studio collaborated with The Office of Thierry W. Despont on façade panels for 45 Park Lane, Dorchester Collection’s ninth hotel. Located in Mayfair, west London, the nine-floor luxury hotel faces Hyde Park with panoramic views across London.

The undulating metallic panels mounted to the balconies overlooking Hyde Park create a rippled metallic surface which flows from the top of the building to its base, reflecting sunlight and embedding lighting across the façade. Situ Studio worked with OTD to develop the geometry, materials and fabrication system for the 24 unique panels. The CNC-milled foam was coated in a polyurethane resin hardcoat and finished in a custom LuminOre Nickle/Silver alloy to create the metallic effect without the weight of solid metal or the costs associated with repoussé. Working with the architects, project engineers and LuminOre to develop the custom panel and mounting system within the target budget, Situ Studio provided design development, fabrication consultation and construction administration services. The hotel will open in September of 2011.

More information about the project is available on on our website.

Anton Ginzburg, At the Back of the North Wind

Anton Ginzburg, Palazzo Bollani

Anton Ginzburg, Ashnest

Situ Studio assisted the artist Anton Ginzburg in the fabrication of several sculptural components comprising his solo show entitled At the Back of the North Wind, currently on view at the 2011 Venice Biennale.

A major film installation, the central narrative force for the exhibition, serves as a poetic and evocative record of an expedition to “map the void” and search for the mythological land of Hyperborea. The exhibition also includes photographs and paintings, as well as eight relief sculptures–five of which represent the terrain of important sites for the project, abstracted and modified from maps and geographical data.

One of the main elements in the show is a sculpture that stands over 14 feet tall in the main hall of the Palazzo Bollani. 3D micro-CT scans of human bone previously used in a Situ Studio research were re-purposed, modified, and juxtaposed with actual fragments of mammoth tusks to create the sinuous Ashnest. The core’s high density foam was milled on a 4-axis CNC router and reinforced by internal steel pins for strength and precise assembly. The painted foam segments are supported on metal posts that rise out of a gravel, ash and tar pit.

Anton Ginzburg
At the Back of the North Wind, 2011
installation photos by Giovanna Silva

Hydrofracking Profitability

fracking players

A series of three consecutive articles by Ian Urbina have recently appeared in the New York Times exposing what appear to be the natural gas industry’s inflated promises on hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’, is a relatively new technique of pumping large amounts of water and ‘fracking fluid’ at high pressure to crack shale formations and extract natural gas. Though the natural gas industry has become the economic hope of many communities across the US, providing jobs and “sustainable” energy, it has drawn criticism for the environmental consequences of hydrofracking.

Several activist groups have emerged over the course of the industry’s growing popularity, imparting environmental awareness and advocacy for those negatively affected by drilling and fracking. The website fractracker.org has made data sets publicly available for users to interpret and create their own maps. The map below overlays levels of natural gas collected, environmental violations, and poverty across Pennsylvania and the Marcellus Shale, one of the largest shale formations in the US, containing large deposits of natural gas.

With the recent public release of 487 emails and internal documents, the profitability of the industry is under question. The information published by New York Times reveals insecurities among industry officials behind their “bullish” predictions. Further examination of data shows that within vast zones of shale gas formations, a small percentage of wells are actually productive, as made clear in the map above –only the areas outlined in green are noteworthy. Even the active wells are depleting more quickly than predicted, and operating and drilling the wells therefore costs more than the gas is worth, ultimately making for higher consumer energy bills, a reversal of the industry’s claims. Companies including Chesapeake Energy Corporation and Petrohawk Energy are accused of intentionally and illegally overbooking their production, effectively misleading investors who try to assess a company’s strengths and banks that use reserves as collateral for loans.

After the report late Friday on the reconsideration of the hydrofracking ban in New York, activist groups and protestors will convene in Albany on Thursday, July 7 to call for a statewide ban on the practice.

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