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To honor donors and the Board of Trustees for their investment in the college, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago commissioned the designers to create an engaging donor wall in the main lobby of the new LeRoy Neiman Center. Inspired by the school’s core values—rigor, experimentation, playfulness and invention—the team recognized donors with an art installation all its own.
The donor wall becomes a part of the infrastructure of the student center’s open gallery as a permanent art installation. The shadows become the main visual deliverable, poetically implying how institutional contributions by donors and alumni are at times out of the students perception, but critical to their education.The design installation features a slotted panel design, creating a system that can be easily adjusted as names are added or removed. Each slot contains a series of edge-painted acrylic blades that have been die-cut with a given name. Colors were selected to complement an adjacent LeRoy Neiman painting and also reference contribution level. An integrated lighting system interplays with each blade to a cast a shadow of individual names onto the wall surface below, allowing the installation to come to life.
The simplicity of the design captures the spirit of the school while providing a functional design solution. The installation received positive feedback at the unveiling ceremony, and has been embraced by students on social media.