When the city of Raleigh, N.C., envisioned its new 500,000-square-foot convention center, displaying the building's massive air-conditioning system was not part of the design strategy. But given the building's prominent downtown location with all four elevations in public view, there was no “back of house” space to conceal the HVAC equipment. Left with the mechanical infrastructure sitting on the south façade along McDowell Street where upward of 80,000 cars drive by daily, the team had to figure out a way to hide the equipment with a visually pleasing treatment. The City of Raleigh, with its rich tradition of public art, called on local design firm, Clearscapes, to explore an artistic solution that would screen the unsightly equipment and create a dynamic art feature for the convention center.
Media artist James Clar continually challenges himself to create new visual systems, products, and environments that marry technology with art. Clar received his master's degree from New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program in 2004, and then opened his own firm in New York City?James Clar & Associates. The six-person studio has developed a wide-ranging portfolio of light pieces and interactive installations. Current projects include a public art piece titled "Tunnel Vision" in collaboration with New York City based Vito Acconci Studios, and the Habitat Hotel in Barcelona with Barcelona-based architecture firm Cloud 9. ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING caught up by phone with Clar, who is in Dubai working on several projects this year before returning to New York.