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La Machine in the Bay Area!

http://www.lamachine.fr/

La Machine is the incredible art team from Nantes, France who are creating some of the world’s most exciting large scale art and immersive performance experiences. Today, I am happy to announce that we have been in conversation with them, Mayor Schaaf and some potential financial backers about the possibility of La Machine returning to Oakland in 2018-19 with both LONG MA JING SHEN and LES MÉCANIQUES SAVANTES!

Our collective vision is to bring these two enormous creatures all the way from their home in Nantes, France to wander the streets of Oakland. We are proposing a four day show, with the creatures starting on opposite ends of town and meeting downtown. Each day, as they make their way towards one another, they’ll make four designated stops where the creatures will perform alongside a host of local artists and performers, uniting La Machine’s team with Bay Area artists to co-create an unforgettable experience.

Introductions

Our week started at  Bruce Beasley’s sculpture garden where Francois Delaroziere and Fredette Lampre La Machine gave a stunning presentation outlining some of their major projects. It was an exciting introduction for those who weren’t well acquainted with their work and by the end of the night I was delighted to observe how we’d all experienced the movement from being awe-inspired to feeling a thrilling sense of purpose. It was the kick off we were hoping for to begin drumming up excitement for our big plans.

Photos by Jillian Northrup

Reveling in Art

Then came Maker Faire who invited Les Machines de l’ile to present and La Machine’s Giant Ant to play and perform. We were placed right next to them with the Golden Mean Snail Car and the Electrobite and enjoyed seeing the creatures get to know each other.  They were exceptionally well received and as always we thoroughly enjoyed sharing our art with the kids (old and new) and learning of La Machine’s new project the Herons Tree.


 

 

Meeting with the Mayor

 
 
We wrapped up our long weekend with a Monday morning meeting at city hall. Mayor Schaaf expressed an encouraging amount of excitement over the prospect of hosting the huge art festival in Oakland and it looks like we’ll have the necessary support of the city. There are a million details to work out but as far as starts go, this is a good one.

One concern we all shared was how to incorporate all of Oakland’s artistic facets. It’s diversity is largely what makes it one of the greatest art hubs in the US and we all agree that this event will require many spotlights.

Another obvious concern is where to get the money for such a grande vision. The city of Oakland doesn’t have the financial resources to ship a 50 foot tall dragon, nor a 50 foot tall spider across the ocean. That’s clearly up to us event planners to figure out.

What’s Next

Our immediate focus moving forward is on securing the funding. We’re looking for a small number of large donors and would love to speak with anyone who’s interested in financially backing this world-class event. Once we succeed in making this event happen Oakland will once again be making world news- this time for being the first US appearance of La Machine’s large creatures and for the amazing local art and entertainment we have in store.

We would love to invite all of you to join us in Ottawa 2017 to see for yourself how incredible this event could be.

 

Enormous thanks to: Konnie May – Project Coordinator,  Bruce Beasley, The Crucible, Adam Nelsen & Mike Pierce from Oakland Spirits Co, Kristina Lazar from Spirit Works, Catherine Boyd of Holy Cheeses and of course the Empire of Dirt Crew!

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RH Baker

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Oakland’s New Mayor Rides in our Snail Art Car

“I think it’s a great symbol of Oakland, our vitality, our creativity, our secret sauce”
– Libby Schaaf on the Golden Mean Snail Art Car 

Photo by D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group
Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle

It’s no surprise people are talking about Oakland’s new mayor, Libby Schaaf, but there’s one detail that seems to surprise everyone: her mayoral ride, the Golden Mean. Apparently most political figures don’t travel to their inauguration in a giant snail with flaming eye sockets.

Schaaf and I first connected during the 2013 Oakland mayoral race around West Oakland business. I agreed with Schaaf’s vision for an Oakland that supports artists, makers, and industrial businesses like mine. When she requested the Golden Mean make a campaign event appearance, I was happy to oblige.

When Schaaf won the election, we took a celebratory ride in the Golden Mean. But the greatest honor came with the last request: a ride for Schaaf and her family to her mayoral inauguration. The event was quintessential Oakland: held at the Paramount Theater, the mayor and her family arriving in the Golden Mean, Schaaf’s acceptance speech including “hella”, and protesters reminding everyone of issues to be addressed.

When we first built the Golden Mean in 2008, little did we know it would someday make Oakland history. Working nights and weekends, the snail car my wife Kyrsten dreamed up was built by her, myself, and our Empire of Dirt crew of artist makers in my West Oakland Form & Reform shop. Since building Golden Mean we’ve made the Electrobite and Serpent Twins, but you’re less likely to see our mayor riding around in them, seeing as they’re not street legal.

 

Meet the Golden Mean Sunday, January 11, 2015madeinoakland-Libby-flyer

As part of Schaaf’s inaugural week, the Golden Mean Snail Art Car will soon make another appearance at the public event celebrating the great town of Oakland and it’s makers this Sunday, January 11. We hope you’ll join us for the “Made in Oakland” Inaugural Festival at American Steel in West Oakland from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Press with Libby Schaaf and the Golden Mean

Inauguration
SFGate / SF Chronicle – Libby Schaaf sworn in as Oakland’s 50th mayor
San Francisco Magazine – That Fire-Shooting Snail Car That Mayor Libby Schaaf Keeps Driving Around Oakland Is the Best Thing Ever
Inside Bay Area – Libby Schaaf sworn in as Oakland mayor
Laughing Squid – Oakland, California’s New Mayor Libby Schaaf Rides Snail Art Car To Her Inauguration

Election Victory Celebration
KQED – Video: Libby Schaaf Rides a Giant Mechanical Snail
SF Gate/ SF Chronicle – Libby Schaaf celebrates Oakland mayoral victory: “an awesome city”
SJ Mercury News / Oakland Tribune – Libby Schaaf celebrates decisive victory and ‘Oakland’s awesomeness’
CBS – Quan Concedes Oakland Mayor’s Race; Schaaf Celebrates In Fire-Breathing Snail Car

Golden Mean Snail Art Car
Facebook Fan Page
Instructable / how it was made
Blog: Golden Mean

Recent Golden Mean in Oakland
Popular Mechanics Video – How Oakland Is Becoming Northern California’s Next Great Startup Hub

“It’s hella time for Oakland.”
  – Libby Schaaf, inaugural speech

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Fixtures for GitHub HQ 3.0 in SF

I’m pleased to share some professional shots of the custom lights I created as part of GitHub’s new – and newsworthy – headquarters in San Francisco, CA. Since most people won’t have the opportunity to see these lights in person, good pictures are gold.

Form & Reform’s contribution to this innovative tech workplace includes twelve Gioia style chandeliers for the dining room, an I-Beam Service Rail for the kitchen pass through, and a series of beam-mounted lights integrated into the architecture above the bar.

It was a pleasure working with Rebecca Brownlee McEfee and Kate Hanzo, principals for Studio Hatch. Their set of GitHub images included the two below featuring the over-bar lights (left), and the I-Beam Service Rail with Gioia style chandelier (right). Photo credit: Eva Kolenko.

gh-hq-1github-passthrough-byHatch-Eva Kolenko

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Custom Spaces also worked on the project, and posted these images featuring some of the dining room’s Gioia style chandeliers with I-Beam Service Rail in background (left) and over-bar lights (right). Photo credit: Kim Lucian.

github-office-DVY4vJGw9x github-office-6TNxAZiuUr

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been interesting to follow the press GitHub’s new HQ has received. Wired Magazine called the offices a Hacker Heaven, Mashable included them in their 13 Playful Work Environments roundup, SF Business Journal included an image of our over-bar lights in their article, and Bisnow held an event at GitHub called Future of Tech Spaces.

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Linden Street Tasting Room

Linden Street Brewing Company picked up one of my custom ring lights for their new tasting room in Oakland. Can’t wait to enjoy it there once it is installed.

On weekends, our art car making (and maintenance) crew the Empire of Dirt has already been enjoying Linden Street beer after workdays on tap at our private Boiler Bar.

LindenStreetBrewery

Pictured here: Adam Lamoreaux, head brewer / owner

Photo credit: Linden Street Flickr stream

 

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Fire Pit by Copter Kids’ Errol Kerr

I received some photos and videos from Errol Kerr at Copter Kids the other day. He had used one of our Fire Pit Kits as the guts of this striking custom steel fire pit. Gorgeous.

Finished fire pit
Finished fire pit

This video gives a peek at the fire pit build, along with some mesmerizing fire footage starting around 1 minute in.

Seeing the design file and a plasma CNC machine cutting the components of his fire pit stand got me thinking: wouldn’t it be great to have a digital fire pit design file that anyone could download and modify if desired? Making a pit would be as easy as sending the file to your local waterjet/plasma cutting facility, then assembling the stand and fire pit plumbing kit.

An exciting challenge would be to design a fire pit stand where the pieces fit together with no welding. I’ve seen our colleagues at Because We Can do amazing things with flat-pack designs.

Ready to build your own fire pit? Buy a kit here.

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Woodside light

Woodside Light

This is a huge light! 8 feet 8 inches wide and almost 100 lights! The challenge I was given was to make it look simple and clean and to hide all of the wiring. Really a wonderful space and this light ties it all together.
8’8″x10′ high Steel and cable
More pictures