The new planned community of Stapleton is being built just south of downtown Denver, on the site of the old airport. The first public building planned is a recreational center, for which artist Pete Beeman and Yianni Doulis proposed a series of three thematically connected art pieces.
The project proposes three major elements located in the entry plaza, within the building’s circulation spine, and outside the west entry, where the building site engages Central Park and Waverly creek. The components, while distinct, are tied together in their evocation of the motion, anatomy, and form of a bird in flight.
The bird is used as a metaphor and touchstone on a number of levels, and connects the Recreation Center’s function to a broader mission of physical health and community cohesion. The project as a whole makes a connection between the return of native birds to Stapleton and the positive relationship the human community has with the natural world.
a time lapse photographic series by Etienne-Jules Marey
bird wing structure
Chest of Drawers
Inspired by a sideboard by Dutch architect and woodworker Gerrit Rietvelt, this chest of drawers is designed to be broken down into individual "sticks" for shipping. The drawer dimensions were tuned to make use of one sheet of marine plywood, with no waste. The other woods are black cherry and eastern walnut.
Burl Coffee Table
This low coffee table was custom-made as part of a client’s extensive renovation, done in collaboration with Jessica Helgerson Interior Design. The top is a pair of book-matched, sugar maple planks were selected for their high degree of figure and burling. The wood was salvaged from a Portland street tree. The joint is formed with butterfly joints made of ipê, a Brazillian hardwood. The base is stained Oregon white oak.
A collaboration with artist Pete Beeman led to the design and construction of three shelters that form the cornerstone of the research center's interpretive and public outreach program. Built of wood, steel and copper, the shelters orient themselves to the views and open up to welcome visitors walking along the accessible trail.
The salvaged douglas fir timbers and naturally patinated copper evoke the colors of the forest and the glint of the creek, while their form suggests a kind of abstracted metaphor of the salmon swimming just below. The sound of rain on the copper tiles heightens visitors' awareness of the place, while each of the shelters brings rain to the ground in a different manner, creating a sense of delight and surprise.
This pair of 7-foot tall floor lamps was made from peeled vine maple trunks. The base plates are of half-inch brass. The shades were dyed to complement the stanchions. Their slightly surreal quality lent itself well to serving as stage lighting for a recent concert at the "Big Sister" house.
This bed was strongly influenced by Shaker design and was engineered to be easily disassembled into its component parts. The side rails are fixed with a double wedge that tightens the whole assembly. The cherry side table in the on-site photograph is part of the same suite, but is a straightforward reproduction.
This 8-foot long desktop is made of myrtle salvaged from a dead fall in southern Oregon. Butterfly joints of ipê, a Brazillian hardwood, were added to prevent cracks from developing. The base is a continuous ribbon of 16-gauge steel which extends the profile of the trunk. This geometry is rigid enough to serve as the sole support for the desk top.
One of the things that makes our practice distinctive is our ability to fabricate certain elements of each project ourselves. For us, working with raw materials adds an invaluable dimension to our knowledge of the craft of building. It gives us joy to see how an initial sketch is transformed by the reality of material. Working through the problems of fabrication, often in collaboration with others, invigorates and sharpens our design thinking. This eagerness for collaboration extends to working on public-scale art projects, and those were done in collaboration with nationally-recognized sculptor Pete Beeman, a friend, sounding board and inspiration.