Mantel Piece

Mantel Piece

Architectural League of New York
New York, NY
1997

Mantel Piece began with a speculative curiosity that arose from the limitations of the wall space given for display: a blocked-up fireplace with a residual mantel piece and mirror. In order to produce a presentation surface somewhere on this wall, the mantel was extruded horizontally three feet into the gallery.

Four motorized models were attached to the presentation surface, playing with the typology of mechanized objects—clocks, metronomes, barometers—which are commonly found on a mantel. Each model had a specific front/back and uses the mirror to provide a view to the rear of the models. Drawings, placed horizontally under the models, had to be anamorphically stretched for the inevitable distortion caused by viewing drawings laid flat on the five feet-three inch height of the mantel. A red neon bulb produces a dotted line in the top surface of the piece, marking the joint between the front and the back of the models, while the red glow from the bulb substitutes for the absent fire below.

Project team:  Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, David J. Lewis