Pro:works would like to take you behind the scenes into our journey of sponsoring Break Charity’s 2018 GoGoHare sculpture trail. Here we will share details from our exciting GoGoHare experience, including a background into our concept for the design of Futurist-Hare.
Futurist-Hare arrived at our office as a blank canvas in March 2018. In the subsequent months, she underwent a metamorphosis to transform her into the sculpture with hidden depths that many of you will have seen on display in Chapelfield Shopping Centre between June – September, as part of Break charity’s 2018 GoGoHare trail around Norwich city centre.
(Futurist-Hare arriving at our office)
As you will know if you’ve followed our social media updates, the theme for our Hare was inspired by Norwich City Council’s public consultations to produce a vision document for the future development of Norwich up to the year 2040.
Pro:works’ conversations around designing for the future brought to mind the revolutionary spirit and ideologies of Fillipo Marietti’s Futurist Movement of 1909 – 1944. The Futurists proclaimed the transformation of the future through motion, technology and transportation. Architects of the Futurist era such as Antonio Sant’Elia created drawings of modern cities and futuristic buildings that embodied the power of modern technology, focusing on four specific characteristics: movement, technology, natural materials and science.
(Futurist Art: Luigi Russolo the Revolt, 1911)
Through reflecting on past approaches to designing for the future, we were reminded that many of the key themes relevant to designing a city ‘for the future’ are not entirely new. Of course, lifestyles and technologies have evolved since the Futurist era, but many of the sentiments relating to change, progress and greeting the future with a sense of optimism, have not.
In modern times, disciplines relating to movement, technology, natural materials and science have expanded rapidly to encompass new technologies relevant to the fields of town planning, urban design and construction, such as; bio-mimicry, the creation of new recycled materials, methods of urban farming, the generation of renewable energy, low-carbon modes of transporting people and consumables, and infrastructures to support flows of information and digitally delivered services. Within the design industry, the connection between all of these fields is the potential they collectively hold to promote the design of more sustainable and resilient cities.
The Futurist proclamation that technology would drive the evolution of our cities is truer now than ever and is essential to the creation of smart, adaptable 21st century cities, especially given the increasingly seamless integration of digital technologies into our everyday built environment and lives.
So, inspired by the Futurists’ abstract, dynamic graphic style and the idea of using 21st century technologies to meet the challenges of the future, the Pro:works team set about creating the concept for a model to represent the hidden world of information, technology and data driving change to connect people, transport, spaces and culture in future Norwich. It was decided that an abstract web representation would best convey the intangible nature of these hidden, yet vast and globally connected networks.
Metaphorically hidden away inside the dark belly of Futurist-hare, the digital web model forms an active ‘nerve centre’ to the sculpture that would be invisible to the outside observer, yet would underpin the functions depicted in the Norwich 2040 scenes skilfully painted onto the exterior of the Hare by local artist Rebecca Pymar, such as drone transportation, wireless communication networks and clean energy production.
Spy-holes in various locations on the outside of Futurist-Hare would provide ‘portals’ through which observers could glimpse the hidden ‘digital web’ sculpture. The digital web, featuring strands of data and information pathways fashioned from wire and Perspex and suspended from a frame inside Futurist-Hare is Illuminated by lights intended to represent digital networks. Mirrors placed around the inside of the model reflect light and views from different angles, creating a kaleidoscopic Trompe-l’œil effect when the web is viewed through the spy-holes.
Once the concept for the model was fixed and the method for displaying and viewing the model decided, Futurist-Hare was sent away for some fairly major surgery to remove a section from her back, allowing the model to be placed inside her body cavity. Additional holes were cut at different heights into her exterior for the placement of observer spy-holes.
Once the surgery was complete and the model and spy-holes installed into Futurist-Hare, she was shipped off to talented local artist, Rebecca Pymar who painted our vision for Norwich 2040 onto the outside of Futurist-Hare. Once painted, Futurist-Hare returned once again to the Lanpro and Pro:works office to get her digital web lights hooked up with an electricity supply by Pro:works Architect Daniel Orford.
After the bustling Gogo Hare Trail launch event at Riverside on 14th June 2018s Futurist-Hare was now ready to take up residence in her new home for the summer of 2018 in Chapelfield shopping centre.
However, Pro:works involvement with Futurist-Hare, by now bordering on the obsessional, did not end there! Futurist-Hare’s fame reached new heights as she became the icon for Pro:works Norwich 2040 community engagement Lego workshop event at The Forum in Norwich. The event was attended by over 500 people created a collaborative vision of Norwich 2040 in Lego, made up of 174 individual models, built in just 6 hours!
Post-trail, Futurist-Hare was sold at on the 11th October at Break’s charity auction, fetching an incredible £4,400 for the charity. Lanpro and Pro:works would like wish Break well with all the important work they do to support children and young people in our area and to extend their thanks to Norwich Forum for the Construction Industry for their generous loan of the Lego used to run the workshop.