The Autodesk Gallery at One Market in San Francisco celebrates design — the process of taking a great idea and turning it into a reality. With about 60 different exhibits regularly on display that showcase the innovative work of Autodesk customers, the gallery illustrates the role technology plays in great design and engineering.
In addition to our gallery in San Francisco, sometimes we have "pop-up" galleries in other cities. These galleries are so named, because they appear for a designated amount of time, like 2 or 3 weeks, and then disappear. They are typically associated with some event that Autodesk is involved in. In the past, we've had pop-up galleries in Las Vega, Paris, and Tokyo. Be on the lookout for one popping up in Germany this year. We also have smaller, permanent galleries at other Autodesk offices like Lake Oswego, Oregon. Sometimes exhibits move from the gallery in San Francisco to other locations. We like to keep our galleries fresh for returning visitors. One of the exhibits that used to be in the San Francisco gallery is Skies Painted with Unnumbered Sparks.
- Autodesk Maya // more
It all started because Janet Echelman's paints were lost by the airline on her way to India. Watching local fishermen and ruminating on her missing supplies, she realized that netting could also be an artist's medium. From that serendipitous mishap developed a monumental, breathing art form combining ancient craft with cutting-edge technology that, through numerous incarnations, has transformed the urban landscape and created inviting focal points for civic life.
To celebrate TED's 30th anniversary, Echelman recasted the Vancouver waterfront as a public art museum with her biggest project as of that date. Using a custom-designed version of Maya software from Autodesk, she explored density, shape, and scale across 700 dazzling feet. But this wasn't sculpture as we know it. Seeming to defy gravity and responding to the forces of nature — wind, water, and light — her sculptures shift from being an object you look at, to something you can get lost in.
This exhibit demonstrates that we are living in the age of digital design, where the lines between technology and art, craft and industrialized production are beginning to blur, and collaboration between artists, engineers, and software designers will become more and more common. The inextricable link between form and structure characterizes Echelman’s billowing creations, which exist in a perpetually changing state of dynamic equilibrium between the weight and prestress forces of the sculpture and the ever-present wind currents which give the work its unique sense of animated life. To help in the creation of the complex form of Echelman's nets, Autodesk developed a custom plug-in for its Maya software specifically for the artist. Due to the dynamic nature and immense scale of her creations, they are incredibly difficult to model. The plug-in solves that, delivering a simulation engine that provides immediate feedback, which in turn leads to instant iteration based on design decisions. Because the engineering work has such a strong influence on the eventual form of the sculpture, the process between the parties is highly iterative. Ultimately the notion of an artist, a software developer, and an engineering firm (Arup) working this closely with their own customized software tools to conceive and create radically new forms is as unique as the creations themselves.
Thanks to Associate Creative Director, Matthew Tierney, for the passages above.
What inspired me to reminisce about our former exhibit was an email I received from Employee Communications Specialist, Ben Shaw. Ben noted that The Bold Italic had an article entitled "Janet Echelman’s Sculptures in lSFO are Breathtaking" that showcased Echelman's newest creation.
It's great to see Autodesk software empower her creations around the world — especially locally.
The Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco is open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. There is a guided tour on Wednesdays at 12:30 pm and a self-guided audio tour available anytime. Admission is free. Visit us.
Netting is alive in the lab.