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Lauren Debellis | February 11, 2013
A 17-foot-tall multimedia tower with three levels of alternating imagery is the star of "Voices of Design: 25 Years of Architalx," an exhibit at the Portland Museum of Art in Maine. On view through May 19, the exhibit celebrates the 25th anniversary of Architalx, a non-profit volunteer organization that provides educational programs in the field of architecture and design to the Portland area and throughout Maine.
“The Voices of Design exhibition proposes to facilitate a dialogue with the content of the Architalx lecture series via material, media, place and interaction,” said Jennifer Whitburn, who worked alongside Tim Ventimiglia at Ralph Appelbaum Associates to design the exhibit. “This is a dynamic celebration of 25 years of Architalx lectures within the Portland Museum of Art—an iconic Henry N. Cobb-designed building,” adds Whitburn.
Whitburn and Ventimiglia deployed a team of local and international specialists in interactive multimedia to create custom touch technology. Displays on two sides of the tower are backed by projectors with infrared light sensors, resulting in an interactive exhibit of moving imagery. As visitors touch the massive tower, a rippling response of images displays the work of leading architects and designers from around the world who have lectured at Architalx.
“We wanted to create a transformational piece,” said John Turk, AIA, principal architect, ttl-architects and Architalx member. “We want people to touch, listen and see so they can make their own connections with the voices and images of top designers who have taken part in 25 years of Architalx lectures.”
In addition to the imagery, on either side of the tower are two 10-foot-tall sound portals with thematic audio clips from the Architalx lecture series. Through the use of “holosonic” technology for projecting tight beams of sound, the audio will be heard only by the visitors in the portals.
“As interior designers, we’re passionate about bringing projects to life—the internal heartbeat of a structure,” says Julie Tupper, interior designer, Haworth, and Architalx board member. “It should tickle the senses, inspire, delight and impact someone’s day. This exhibition does all of that and more. It is a powerful experience!”