floating on a bubble

A museum/gallery experience that has been making the rounds a while in the studio is Tomás Saraceno’s On Space Time Foam.


We are excited and intrigued with the opportunity it gives visitors to actually float in or step on a mega scale bubble/foam structure. This certainly fits into our whole fascination with scale.

One can imagine this is what it is like to be miniaturized and walk amongst a soap bubble cluster.

Obviously this experience could be an incredibly powerful additional component to a bubble area.

But more intriguing is to use such an experience to communicate something about materials, or about the very structure of the universe. Just imagine finding this experience in a space or planetarium institution. It would be an exhibit that might change the very nature of what people expect in institutions such as this.

What other connections does it suggest to you?

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Fun with scale (part 3) – the city as a canvas

So over the past few weeks there has been another set of playing with scale that caught our eye and perhaps some of this blog’s readers since they may have seen them in person. The examples continue the theme:

The unexpected and almost whimsical use of scale attracts attention, inspires levity and whimsy, and can often bring a point home.

A future blog post will cover the subject of levity but we here at ALCHEMY studio feel that this often an underused tool in our collective experience tool box. The first scale example some readers may have seen in Chicago is by the artist or artists named Bored.  Here are some examples cited by Nate Berg of the Atlantic, several people on Reddit. Check out the messages on the cards!



We would love to see more so please send us links to pics if you have some.

A second is the “lego” work don by Megx. Here using a little paint and imagination a bridge in Wuppertal, Germany is transformed.








Both of these examples suggest also that museums and cultural institutions could possibly extend both brand, experience and a small bit of perhaps a lighthearted aspect of their mission (play, science is cool, arts all around us, etc.) by engaging in imaginative ways with the city canvas.

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scale strikes back!







So it would appear that even we as institutions can be become the focus of scale and yes it still is fascinating for all the reasons of the former blog post. At the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Graduate Exhibition Design Thesis this lovely model of the New York Hall of Science’s Wallace Harrison– designed Great Hall wsa on display. Model done by  Marlene Paufler, graduatee student, of her project the Science of Dreams.

Here the Hand of God comes down to interact with the Great Hall.







God is played by Paul Orselli (eat you heart out Eric Siegel!) Look for more in the near term about the entire FIT graduate event.

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Some recent encounters with several exhibits and experiences have been a reminder of the magic and impact that playing with scale can have on us and is a reminder that this is an important tool in the out “tool box” here at ALCHEMY studio and for other designers.

Scale forces us to reevaluate the importance of the object or the importance of ourselves. We can experience the “impossible.”

The purposes of this discussion refer to the idea of scale reference a parameter of an object’s size. By object we might mean the “artifact” that is the exhibit or we may mean the an environmental piece that sets a context for an exhibition

Here are two recent examples encountered at the Walker Art Center

Making something big:









Folding chair Robert Therrien

Photos: Wayne LaBar and Paul Schmelzer; Walker Art Center blog



Making something small















Maurizio Cattelan Untitled

Photos : Wayne LaBar


Mulling on this and thinking of other successful examples used by other museums such as the giant heart at the Franklin Institute, the images we see on in IMAX and giant screen films or on the small scale   the model railroads at the Carnegie Science Center, the Lego amusement worlds found over the globe it – what is it that attracts us to this and often makes these experiences memorable and extraordinary.  In addition, there are times when this fails. Numerous are the examples of large “walk through human bodies” that never seem to rise above a feeling of “fake” or “schlock.” Detail , quality and immersiveness are key

So some observation on successful uses of scale.


  • Allows us to appreciate detail and form we normally can’t see or ignore
  • Allows us to explore places physically that are normally inaccessible
  • Allows us to reevaluate the importance of the object or the importance of ourselves
  • Allows us to experience the ” impossible”, the unusual, the imaginary
  • Allows us possibly to harken back to our childhood, as adults, and re-experience the discovery of scale

What other ideas come to mind about the power of these playful, thoughtful and imaginative uses of scale?

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