This Summer I was asked to do a button installation in the new offices of the National Resources Defense Council. Tuesday night is the open house for the new offices, designed by Studio Gang to be platinum LEED certified and zero emissions, zero waste. It's kind of amazing.
The piece was designed in consultation with NRDC. The Midwest chapter focuses on Great Lakes issues, so
almost all the imagery comes from pictures of the Lakes. The overall design is inspired by diagrams of their relative volume and depth (in
order of size: Erie, Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Superior). On the buttons themselves there are images of people fishing and swimming, images of fish, plants and cities on the shore, sunken wrecks, sailboats, ducks, and driftwood as well as plenty of images of the Lakes' surfaces in all sorts of light and weather.
From the last, Lake Superior, the buttons trail around a corner
onto the taller right hand wall (the St Lawrence Seaway, basically)
connecting the Lakes to the Atlantic ocean, the wider world and the
larger hydrologic and weather cycles that connect them. To the right
there is a similar trailing off, upwards into the 'sky' (okay... the
ceiling) again to indicate the idea of the circularity of the cycle and
that the lakes are in fact fed from the rain, which in turn comes from
the wider world. Along with images of the Great Lakes are a few of some other
large lakes and bodies of water around the planet, again to just point to the general
interconnectedness of all this stuff – the Caspian Sea, Baikal,
Victoria, Tanganyika, Titicaca, etc.