+ Installed at The Plaza at 300 Ashland, Brooklyn, New York
+ Commissioned by Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Two Trees Management Co. and Van Alen Institute
Engineering: Mathew Daw, SGH
Fabrication + Installation: Sunset Park Fabrications
Floor decals printed and installed by: Color Group
Lighting Design + Programming: Arup - Xena Petkanas and Christoph Gisel
Lighting controls equipment and LEDs provided by: Nanometer and Electric Lighting Agencies
Drone photography by Selvon Ramsawak, with select event photos by Sean Chee
Thanks to Kate Gavriel, Andrew Brown, Julissa Vale, Tamara Greenfield, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and the Doe Fund team
COMMON GROUND is a site-specific, interactive public artwork – a colorful pavilion and floor motifs that dance across the plaza. Drawing inspiration from the geometry of shrines and sacred spaces and referencing the terraces of the site, this architectural intervention transforms the plaza into an oasis for sitting, socializing and gathering by day and by night. COMMON GROUND creates a bold, joyous interruption in the plaza, one of our everyday spaces, and offers a playable topography. As a community hub, COMMON GROUND aspires to cultivate togetherness and resilience, while encouraging moments of pause, reflection and play. Public programs, including music and dance performances, activate the pavilion.
In the evening, COMMON GROUND creates a shared synesthetic experience. Illuminated with color-changing lighting and sensors that register environmental audio, light animations shimmer across the sculpture’s steppes in response to these sounds — the movements of passers-by, footsteps climbing on the structure, voices, the ambient hum of traffic. COMMON GROUND features 74 feet of individually controlled RGB flexible encapsulated fixtures. Two sound sensors are located within the wooden modules at both ends of the sculpture. When no sound is detected, the fixtures slowly pulse in the artwork’s color palette. When sound levels meet the designated threshold, a pulse of colored light crosses the sculpture, originating from the side where the sound was detected.
As we emerge from long years of the pandemic, COMMON GROUND is a place of co-created joy and light, celebrating inclusion, diversity and community in today’s era, amidst the movements of Black Lives Matter, Stop Asian Hate, Me Too and social justice movements of our time. It is a place for all to share space, to embrace resilience, togetherness and the here and now.