Illuminated Stripes

An interview I covered for The Submission Magazine in December 2009.

See pictures at http://www.TheSubmission.net, Issue 26.

Ding! The doors rumble as they slide open and I follow Jeff Gardner into the elevator of the Neuberger Museum. I’ve heard about his design, Illuminated Stripes, but was not expecting such vivid color. Jeff, in his heavy jacket, smiles as my eyes explore the flashy column of colors on the back wall. Deep blue rests on yellows, oranges, reds, and purples that are stacked on bright green. Similar colors race up the dark panels as streaks of light. Jeff looks amused as the gray doors clash together, forming in large, white, vertical print: Neuberger Museum of Art.

Neuberger_Museum_Elevator.jpg

The $3,800 project began with pulling the measurements from all of the wall panels, in order to install the vibrant ones. Jeff jokes that if Oxford Color, the vinyl printing company, didn’t hang the panels, it wouldn’t have looked as good because he wasn’t sure how to do it.  He focuses on the humming lights above us and points. He and some classmates deconstructed them, cleaned the dusty glass panels in the ceiling, and by himself, set up the lighting exactly the way he had it planned out.  I am mind-boggled as he explains the technicalities of the plexiglass strips that are dazzling the walls with color.

“They are 2.5 inches by 95 inches.” He presses a hand on the wall while still making eye contact and explains, “the reason for the dimensions are because behind the strips are little indents that are all separate panels, it’s not a continuous wall.”  He goes on to say that the lighting strips he used are paper-thin strips of LED lighting that he ordered from China. They were $4.45 per linear foot there, which is much cheaper than Port Chester’s $17.00 per strip. After receiving the lights, he figured out the amperage to effectively brighten up the elevator. Each strip needs only one amp of power, and the lights put out 12 volts of energy.

Jeff takes a step back and inspects the floor, his palms face upward as he outstretches his arms. The floor was never in the original budget, but his design wouldn’t be complete without vinyl flooring.  He, along with some help, put the hickory vinyl plank flooring together. “One of the interns that work at the museum and I were in here for four and a half hours on our knees, peeling and sticking,” he says, imitating the movements of peeling and sticking with his hands.

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