The Pale Blue Dot carries the potential to inspire future collaborations between artists, fabricators and other creative professionals. Its imaginative use of ALUCOBOND® PLUS puts design innovation on display and offers a blueprint for future projects.
- ALUCOBOND® PLUS was selected, in part, because it is light weight and easy to customize; fabrication of the panels was a smooth, efficient process.
- “Accuracy was critical and ALUCOBOND PLUS was the ideal material because of its formability. This, combined with its vibrant finish, made it possible for us create a breathtaking, meaningful piece of art that enhances the Boise community.”
- Pale Blue Dot is just one example of the endless possibilities that exist when artists and fabricators rely on ALUCOBOND PLUS to give shape to great ideas
- Project Pale Blue Dot
- Location Boise, ID
- Product ALUCOBOND PLUS, Galaxy Blue and Ocean from The Spectra Collection
- Lead Artist John Yarnell, Studio Capacitor
- Fabricator Trademark Design and Fabrication
- Photos Trademark Design and Fabrication
Boise, Idaho, known for its vibrant public art scene, has numerous works of art scattered throughout the city. In 2019, prior to the pandemic, the Boise Department of Arts and History extended a call to local artists for an architectural exhibit to be designed and installed on the side of one of downtown Boise’s newest parking structures. The building – a multi-level garage – is strategically located in a mixed-used neighborhood, along a major thoroughfare that serves as a connector for residents from the foothills to downtown.
Studio Capacitor, the exceptionally artistic design/build arm of Trademark Design and Fabrication, was selected as a finalist to develop ideas for the structure and ultimately awarded the contract. From there, they worked with the developer to refine the theme, shape and form of what is now an iconic symbol. Initially, progress on the project was slowed due to cultural disruptions including the COVID-19 pandemic, racial and political conflicts and wildfires in the region caused by environmental instability. Unexpectedly, however, it is this infamous period of unrest that sparked the inspiration for what is now known as Pale Blue Dot.
This multi-piece sculpture was inspired by the famous photo taken of Earth by Voyager 1 in 1990 as it left the solar system, along with the famous reflection, Pale Blue Dot, written by renowned astronomer, Carl Sagan:
“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of.”
In order to accomplish the artist’s vision for the sculpture, and to ensure the longevity of each figure, the engineering team at Studio Capacitor was enlisted to identify a material that was durable, attractive and pliable. Having utilized ALUCOBOND PLUS for existing commercial projects and being familiar with its form and function, one of the engineers examined its suitability to achieve the intricate, aesthetic configurations of Pale Blue Dot, and its ability to withstand the rigorous climate of Boise.
The team put ALUCOBOND PLUS to the test. They laser etched the surface, routed and scored the product and finally bent it in multiple ways to determine its threshold and confirm its structure and strength. In the end, the material’s stability, along with its multilayers – which delivers a strikingly complex look
Composed with intention, each of the 14 uniquely-positioned, six-foot blue figures, is situated facing toward a shared focal point.
From the Artist Statement:
“Pale Blue Dot explores an idealistic world in which humanity comes together and agrees to set aside personal differences to share Earth’s precious resources. A world where we forget our imagined self-importance and instead, remember our brevity of human life. A world that invites every human being who ever was, from the bookends of humanity and everyone in between, to preserve and enjoy the resources needed by all.
Drawing from the metaphor of a universal watering hole, the elemental gathering point for life immemorial, the one place where an instinctive truce is drawn in the name of the greater good and survival. Each figure inches closer to the watering hole, drawn by the shared human need for connection and safety.”
The brilliant and attention-grabbing ALUCOBOND PLUS Ocean was chosen for the human (origami) figures because of its color shifting elements, beautifully varying from vibrant blue or teal to shades of green depending on the lighting and time of day. ALUCOBOND PLUS Galaxy Blue was aptly chosen to brilliantly replicate the watering hole.
Fabrication and Installation
Accuracy was critical in the formation of each of the 14 origami figures. The painstaking process began by taking thousands of photos of a single model positioned in a unique pose. Through photogrammetry – a process which involves taking overlapping photographs of an object, structure, or space, and converting them into a 3D model – the Studio Capacitor team created prototypes of each figure. Based on these, the team created unique patterns from which the ALUCOBOND PLUS pieces were produced. Selected, in part because it is light weight and easy to customize, fabrication of the ALUCOBOND PLUS panels was a smooth, efficient process. This versatility was a welcome relief in this multi-phased project that was layered with complexity.
Once the aluminum composite material components were ready, the team – following the patterns – meticulously wrapped an aluminum framework, or skeleton, with the ALUCOBOND PLUS Ocean, using small connector tabs to fasten the pieces together.
“Proper due diligence equipped us to craft an ‘erector set’ to create each one of the 14 unique forms,” explained Alex Caves, lead design engineer, Studio Capacitor. “Accuracy was critical and ALUCOBOND PLUS was the ideal material because of its formability. This, combined with its vibrant finish, made it possible for us create a breathtaking, meaningful piece of art that enhances the Boise community.”
The three-day installation of Pale Blue Dot took place in December 2022.
The Pale Blue Dot outdoor art exhibit aims to inspire people to put their differences aside and come together. The artwork is a reminder that despite our differences, we all share the same planet and the same resources. It encourages people to reflect on their actions and their impact on the environment and to work towards a more sustainable future.
The innovative use of ALUCOBOND PLUS in this project showcases the versatility, durability and potential of the material to create visually striking art installations. Pale Blue Dot is just one example of the endless possibilities that exist when artists and fabricators rely on ALUCOBOND PLUS to give shape to great ideas.
For more information about ALUCOBOND, visit www.alucobondUSA.com, call 1-800-626-3365 or email info.usa@3AComposites.com.