Leo Villareal

Date: 2011

Cylinder was produced for LED sculpture artist Leo Villareal’s first solo exhibition in 4 years. It was the second piece in a series of volumetric explorations by the artist, the first being Cube. Work began on Cylinder a mere two months before its May 4th premier at the Gering & Lopez Gallery in Midtown Manhattan. Parallel was responsible for the structural design and installation of the piece, while electrical engineer Todd Polenberg and software engineer Jason Cipriani worked out the magic.

The project’s timeline included ample time at the end for the artist to program the piece, making the deadline one of the greater challenges. Similar to Cube, mirror-polish stainless steel was specified because of the way it reflects and amplifies the effect of the LEDs. But this time the LED boards would be chained together in nearly 12-foot lengths suspended from above. Parallel devised a way of encasing the LED boards that maximized the reflective surface area and made for easy assembly and maintenance.

The LED strands hang from an overhead structure that defines their radial spacing and houses the electronics for the piece. This structure needed to have a low profile while also being very rigid to support the combined 1200 lb weight of the strands. The challenge was to design a short, rigid structure with 5 concentric rings that could assemble around a column.

Because the piece was not a permanent installation, assembly and dis-assembly were primary considerations. Staging the piece in our shop prior to installation proved the effectiveness of the design and made for a smooth installation.