Troll Blue Swell



Venice, CA




Lisa Little, John Milian

Troll Blue Swell spans 20’ overhead, providing shade and a strong visual identity for an outdoor bar in Venice, CA. Commissioned as a piece of functional art, the bright blue color contrasts with the color scheme of the bar and draws visitors in while providing shade and offering a sense of place to the outdoor dining area. The permanent installation is an integral part of the hospitality brand and architectural strategy for the bar. The aggregation of folded aluminum demonstrates a formal system that is both sculptural and structural.

The installation’s form was developed via a deliberate and specific combination of hand drawn geometry and computer scripting and is constructed out of over 600 unique powder-coated, folded pieces laser cut from aluminum sheets. The tension between the hand drawn and the computationally generated is registered through slight deviations in predictable patterns and index the deliberate choices of the artist. In that way, this piece asks where the parametrically defined ends and the intuitive artistic act begins.

The components are riveted together preserving the integrity of the individual components but acting as a whole in a manner similar to a space frame. Spanning 20’ longitudinally and 12.5’ in the transverse direction, the canopy uses no intermediate or secondary structure. Its strength is derived from the bends and folds in the thin aluminum that lend depth and rigidity to the overall form. This structural methodology is a continuation of a trajectory of investigation that includes previous projects Rumple Zone, Three Horned Beast, and A Loose Horizon.

As a permanent exterior artwork, it is exposed to the elements and careful consideration was given to durability of all materials and finishes. As a private commission for a hospitality group’s new bar, Vertebrae oversaw all aspects of design, production, and installation, coordinating with the structural engineer, custom fabricators and a general contractor.



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