Scrim: More Than Just A Calling Card

Scrim material, construction hoarding, fence covers? You might not think you know it, but trust us, you do. It’s that material that you see wrapped around construction sites and in other between spaces. It can be a  webbed material that usually shouts “LIVE WORK PLAY, RENT ME!!! …” text printed directly onto the fabric. At Isenberg Projects, we consider scrim to possess the ability to be an  impactful opportunity to tell a more interesting story of what is to come.  It can be thought provoking, inspiring, may we even say, moving and can evoke community participation and awareness.

There are a few recent projects where we were able to stretch scrim in new directions, like this larger-than-life Big Heart Energy piece by Deborah Johnson currently on display at Zone 3 in Allston. Johnson’s perspective and method of storytelling is something special that IP knew needed to be shared with the community at large. You see, Johnson’s art is “centered around her identity as a queer woman of color and immigrant experience. She hopes to create spaces that are supportive and centered around healing, learning and unhealing.” Once we saw Johnson’s work, we knew every cyclist, professional dog walker, commuter, and driver down North Harvard Street needed to see her work in a tangible setting. So grab that bike, lace up those converse and explore this piece in Allston off of North Harvard Street. Can’t get over there? Well, a virtual visit can also do the trick.

Photo credit: Rachel Gianatasio

Another way to play with scrim is to push the boundaries of what’s possible in less than ideal pedestrian experiences. Like the transformation of Bulfinch Crossing in partnership with HYM Investment  into a colorful commuter tunnel is another way we sought to take a blank space and create some magic. Allison Tanenhaus designed Crossing Crystals to splash this concrete jungle with a bit of life. Tanenhaus’ vision of using color and shapes while taking a blank concrete canvas transposed this walkway into a selfie opportunity and “hey, that’s cool” by the local Boston commuter. Tanenhaus’ analyzed and finessed each individual shape for scale, color, and relative depth, to create a site wide experience beyond a mural. Click here for more pictures and to learn a bit more of the creative challenges of this site.

Sometimes a large scale project in transition is a canvas in itself! Take a mental picture of our largest “ scrim like project” with  Zacharie Lanoue’s piece over at Zone 3 in partnership with The Davis Companies called Yellow Tree which can be seen here.

Lanoue used a particularly cool machine he developed called a Landscan. Lanoue composed this piece “by collaging hundreds of photos of the same subject to create realistic abstractions of a single Maple tree.” The scale and experience of this project  was inspired by the maple tree and how it reflects “deep community rootedness as well as a sense of constant growth upward and branching outward.” The project was then given back to the community in the form of 400 hundred vinyl bags made from the scrim itself when it’s function was no longer needed! What an incredible opportunity to communicate commitment to the arts, but also acknowledging the neighborhood by sharing the art directly with them in the final bag form.  Not only is that theme something to stop and stare at, but to ponder within our day to day, wouldn’t you agree?

Here’s a couple scrim projects we’ve been crushing on for a while:

Coal Drops Yard, London

Heatherwick Studio-designed shopping and dining destination in London’s Kings Cross district. Learn more

Darling Square, Sydney Australia

Darling Square Award winning scrim by Artist Karan Singh for Houston Group in Sydney. Learn more

Philadelphia Mural Arts Construction Scrim
Navy Yard, Philadelphia

Local Philadelphia artist Nate Harris has designed multiple installations throughout the Navy Yard. Through a collaboration between PIDC and Mural Arts Philadelphia, Harris’ newest installation covers the fence in front of the peaking plant and continues to evoke the spirit of the Navy Yard with abstract representations of its buildings and ships, bringing vibrant color to the site. Learn more

Sephora Retail Barricade, Beverly Hills, California

Cosmetics and skincare company, Sephora, saw their new Beverly Hills store transform into a 1930s monotone masterpiece. The enormous retail barricade covers a massive 5,640 sq ft in total, and certainly stands out on the streets of Beverly Hills. Learn more

Nigel Sussman, Berkley, California

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