Phantom Formwork

“Phantom Formwork” performs in the Centro public square, though the “ghost,” unbuilt metro line to serve Columbia Pike strikes us as serendipitously interesting in this context.  Our philosophy is to use materiality and form to create physical spaces which activate, engage, and connect users and viewers, which we believe demands connection to context as the driver of a site-specific response.

We saw a need for refuge on this urban corner and a place to pause within, not to pass through. To us, the lush plantings and circular plazas mapped out by the site’s designers already gesture towards addressing this need, and we wanted our proposal to push farther in the same directions. We selected a material—wire mesh — to create a play of light and shadow, enhancing the vegetation and heightening the atmospheric qualities which have made gardens magical places to inhabit throughout history and across cultures. The piece’s form—circlular carved out of rectangular—responds to the plaza’s shape and its function as a refuge, and evokes traditionally monumental geometries while its unexpected materiality suggests dissolution.

“Phantom Formwork” is not singular. The appearance of the work shifts according to the viewer’s position on the site, both in terms of its large overall geometries and its small-scale mesh textures, the complete picture emerging only as a viewer examines it from many angles and distances. This is an intentional response to the context, as it suggests a multiplicity of values and perspectives coexisting, which to us is an appropriate and positive role the piece may play in the public square