In October of 2015 the Lowell Heritage Partnership approached Solomon Office for assistance in creating a new vision for the public space surrounding the waterways in Lowell. The multiple rivers and canals that crisscross the city have the potential to connect people, yet the complicated nature of their ownership and management poses a challenge for improvement projects and maintenance. By celebrating water-based resources through demonstration events, participatory mapping, and artistic illustrations, the Waterways Vitality Initiative was able to rally the community and major stakeholders around a celebration of the water-based resources in Lowell. With an initial investment of $11K, the initiative was able to leverage a commitment of $1M in funding for related activities by the time of its launch a year later.
Watch this video here and check out the Action Plan at lowellheritagepartnership.org/next.
As the 150th anniversary of the largest industrial disaster in Massachusetts history approached, the City of Lawrence was locked in a narrative of contamination in need of being transformed into a story of redemption. Demographic changes in the Immigrant City disconnected recent residents from those who had lived in the city for generations, and the emerging digital divide was poised to isolate people even further. Rather than creating one platform which could become outdated, this augmented reality interpretive history trail is modular, bilingual, and resides on multiple channels, which has enabled it to be expanded and be taken on by teachers as a project-based learning experience.
The Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge established a strategic plan to foster more interdisciplinary collaboration, and hired Daniel Koff of Solomon Office to help them create a common space using participatory co-design methods. The problem was that departments at the facility were strewn about on separate floors and across multiple buildings. By situating a space adjacent to the central cafeteria and library, Solomon Office and the internal team at the Volpe Center were able to create a space that blended these two environments into a convivial atmosphere where interaction was encouraged.
“Black Infinity in the Moment” is the culmination of the life’s work of Aldo Tambellini, an avant garde artist who has continuously expanded and redefined cinema throughout its history as an experimental art-form. From the age of 6 when he projected a lanterna magica in his home in pre-war Italy, to the 1960’s in New York City where Aldo created cameraless films and became
one of the first artists to illuminate buildings with artistic projections, to the advent of television where Aldo worked on the first and second program by artists for broadcast television (Black Gate Cologne 1968, the Medium is the Medium, WGBH Boston, 1969), to his time at MIT in the 1980’s, Aldo has always worked at the bleeding edge of art and technology. Today, at the age of 87, and in collaboration with Daniel Koff and Nicholas Vandenberg of Solomon Office, Aldo has reassembled his hand-painted glass slides, film, videos, poetry and sound into a new avant garde virtual reality film experience.
The Washington University Housing Cooperative was founded as a center for student-centered co-design education. Previously there was no housing option that was offered by the school which encouraged students to collaboratively cook, clean and garden. And these life-skills weren’t taught through academic means either. Daniel Koff and Chloe Byruck realized that in order to engage in this kind of learning they needed to create the environment by simultaneously designing a physical space and a social structure.
Lawrence CommunityWorks teamed up with the City of Lawrence to hire Daniel Koff of Solomon Office and his team with the UrbanArts Institute and local artists Flynn Costello and Oscar Bogran to figure out the role of public art in the transformation of a complex of mill buildings into a new neighborhood for working families. The site, situated between the commuter rail station and the entrance to the interstate highway, functions as the transit gateway to Lawrence, yet the area stood isolated on an island of industrial space. Our team bridged divides – between the community and institutional partners, and the from one side of the canal to the other – by initiating a participatory planning process and pilot public art project that flew prayer flags which were created by local youth from one end of the canal to the other. Not only does the City have a master plan for the gateway district which can be referred to in future development phases, but the process itself initiated a conversation amongst Lawrence youth and aligned the institutional partners that are needed for continued improvements.