Float is a placemaking intervention realizing the power of art to transform public space in subtle yet profound ways. With the installation of hammocks—devices that signal carefree summer leisure—Float transfigures the front lawns at the Kemper museum of Contemporary Art into a welcoming commons. The resulting atmosphere of openness (private/ public) and relaxation invites the public to a communal uplifting experience.
The custom designed hammock stands are made of powder coated steel, a durable material. The hammocks themselves, however, are made of polyester rope and are thus vulnerable. It is this very vulnerability, a markedly unusual trait in the public realm, that introduces the invisible element of trust that is a vital element of the installation.
The installation at the Kemper Museum involved two identical arrangements in both front lawns.
An installation photo shows that the design of the hammock stands allows for the burial of the connecting support base to maintain an elegant minimal appearance as well as insuring that the space directly below the hammocks is open to the soft turf in case users tumble out.
Float's presence on the museum lawn prompted the museum to further activate the space by hosting outdoor movie nights.
The first iteration of Float was as installation for Avenue of the Arts in Downtown Kansas City Missouri. The hammocks transformed an impressive but otherwise uninviting public green space between the Kauffman Performing Arts Center and the Kansas City Convention Center Grand Ballroom.
This summer long installation drew a daily crowd of users to the lawn ranging from nearby office workers taking a relaxing lunch break to post performance stargazing visitors from the performing arts center dressed in ballgowns and tuxedos.
Installation view looking toward the grand ballroom.
The hammocks quickly became popular enough to stay fully occupied everyday.