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Thom Faulders: BAMscape

January 29, 2010 - April 15, 2012

Thom Faulders: BAMscape, 2010; mixed media; 1,500 sq. ft. Photo: Marion Brenner.

Thom Faulders: BAMscape, 2010; mixed media; 1,500 sq. ft. Photo: Jakub Mosur.

How often do you get a chance to sit, lounge, or study on a work of art? Thom Faulders’s BAMscape invites you to interact with art—and with the museum—in unexpected ways. This commissioned work, a hybrid of sculpture, furniture, and stage, is the new centerpiece of Gallery B, BAM’s expansive central atrium. It is part of a new vision of the gallery as a space for interaction, performance, and improvised experiences.

Faulders has designed a landscape of undulating forms, constructed from curved, brightly painted wood over a core of foam. Viewed from the lobby and balconies above, the piece resembles an abstracted archipelago or a rendering of breaking waves. The shifting optical experience of the work becomes spatial and tactile as you approach and climb onto it, settling in among its varied lumps and bumps. The structure offers multiple seating possibilities and focal points, providing settings for large-scale performance, intimate discussion, or solitary yet sociable relaxation.

In conjunction with the installation of Faulders’s work, the interior walls in Gallery B have been removed, opening the space to light and air and revealing the wall of windows on the gallery’s west side. This allows both a rediscovery of Mario Ciampi’s original architecture and an intriguing interaction between the building’s forceful, angular geometry and the indeterminate curves of BAMscape.

Thom Faulders is an award-winning architect and the founder of Faulders Studio, an East Bay practice that combines functional design with research and experimental projects, creating what Faulders calls “dynamic relationships between users and environments.” His innovative and investigative architecture is an ideal match for BAM/PFA’s new Friday evening programs in Gallery B, which are intended to be similarly spontaneous and open-ended, East Bay-based but globally minded. Faulders conceives of BAMscape as “a new social nerve center to the museum experience.” Come in, sit down, and make the experience your own.

Juliet Clark