Nov 5th 2015

IIT Students' SOFA Project in Chicago Sun-Times

An installation from John DeSalvo's studio is part of a SOFA competition among six universities on view at Navy Pier from Nov. 5-8.

The Sculptural Objects & Functional Art exhibition is held annually in Chicago and includes a competition in which students design a seating and lighting installation to provide show attendees spaces to sit and relax on the show floor. 

This year's participating universities include, in addition to Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT),the Pratt Institute (Brooklyn, N.Y.); San Diego State University (San Diego, Calif.); University of Cincinnati – College of Design/Architecture/Art and Planning (Cincinnati, Ohio); University of Iowa (Iowa City, Iowa), and University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth (Dartmouth, Mass. The winning installation will be announced on opening night (Nov. 5) the winning team will be awarded a $3000 prize.

The interdisciplinary IIT team includes 29 students from a number of academic programs led by Professor John DeSalvo from IIT College of Architecture and Jeremy Alexis from IIT Institute of Design.

In a Chicago Sun-Times article written by Hedy Weiss, DeSalvo said “The final work – dubbed ‘3secondsofFAME’ to suggest today’s world of fleeting digital Internet fame – mixes the IIT legacy of Mies van der Rohe’s open, flexible plans, his multi-functional spaces and his rational construction techniques with 21st century technology.”

“It takes the form of a dimly lit enclosed translucent box on stilts that measures 24-feet-by-24-feet and sits on a red carpet, with stepped seating outside. Supported by eight posts, it has a polystyrene and fabric wrap.”

“The objects inside are four large cameras that move, picking up images with paparazzi-like flash and projecting them on the structure’s outside walls for the spectators to see. The essential idea is connected to social media, and the notion of how we see ourselves through the people who see us. The photographs will be taken in three-second intervals, so the images will be replaced every 3 seconds, suggesting the fleeting nature of fame. The light is a reference to Mies’ iconic Crown Hall building on the IIT campus.”