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Mutuus Studio Has Turned a Defunct Acid Accumulator Into a Public Artwork at Waypoint

Anabata Media · August 30th, 2022
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Seattle-based architectural firm Mutuus Studio has transformed an acid accumulator from a tissue factory in Georgia Pacific into a 33-acre public art installation housed in Waypoint Park, Bellingham.

"The structure of that acid accumulator has long been a powerful authentic artifact, connecting the community with Bellingham's great industrial past," Mutuus Studio said.

Mutuus Studio Has Turned a Defunct Acid Accumulator Into a Public Artwork at Waypoint(Acid Ball by Mutuus Studio)

This round structure that has thick steel walls and concrete layers is known as the "Waypoint" installation or residents know it as the "Acid Ball." Having a diameter of nine meters long with a weight of more than 179 tons and a height of up to 11 meters, this installation project presents the character of industrial artifacts, while maintaining the integrity of the existing form. Appearing like a "poke out" from the ground, this installation is supported by a steel structure that acts as a support.

Mutuus Studio Has Turned a Defunct Acid Accumulator Into a Public Artwork at Waypoint(Acid accumulator from a tissue factory in Georgia Pacific)

Mutuus Studio Has Turned a Defunct Acid Accumulator Into a Public Artwork at Waypoint(Acid Ball installation process in Waypoint Park)

The most important aspect of this design is Acid Ball's relationship with the planned revitalization of Waypoint Park in Bellingham as a whole. At its core, this installation is one of the Macro movements (on an urban scale) and Micro movements (on an elemental scale) pursued by society with the help of Mutuus Studio.

If explained more deeply, the Macro movement strategy on an urban scale is carried out by repositioning the ball to the edge of the water so that it looks like a lighthouse emerging from land and water. Not stopping there, Mutuus Studio put the Acid Ball parallel to the pedestrian corridor that is increasingly becoming a public "gravity" to the seaside by connecting the Downton path to the surrounding park.

Mutuus Studio Has Turned a Defunct Acid Accumulator Into a Public Artwork at Waypoint(View acid ball at Waypoint Park at night)

Meanwhile, microelements are a step that is taken into account to arrange layers that protect the structure. Therefore, the team is looking for durable materials, low maintenance, and resistant to bad weather. As a result, the team chose Glass Beads material that was applied over the entire surface to coat the steel ball and keep it from being hit by the ever-changing weather.

Mutuus Studio Has Turned a Defunct Acid Accumulator Into a Public Artwork at Waypoint(Details of Acid Ball)

"We are constantly surprised by experiments with this simple material (Glass Beads) and fascinated by the way (how) light bounces and interacts with the surrounding environment," the team said, noting that the coating has given a captivating quality structure.

The "Waypoint" installation draws on the light around the city of Bengliham, from sunlight to fading moons, street lights to passing car lights also highlight the installation uniquely. As a result, the reflection of light from different sides shows a variety of colors that play saturation as the light that comes into the spotlight.

Mutuus Studio Has Turned a Defunct Acid Accumulator Into a Public Artwork at Waypoint(The highlights of the light from the garden lights to the passing car lights make it look unique)

In the end, the acid accumulator can be appreciated "decently" by the community through its transformation into a Waypoint installation. Then, the macro and micro movements can also be fulfilled optimally. It's a successful effort in connecting the community with Bellingham's industrial past.

According to Mutuus Studio "As a designer and artist, light is the most important part of a work. Creating a work that is not only seen once but makes something that can make you come back with experience in a different light."

Mutuus Studio Has Turned a Defunct Acid Accumulator Into a Public Artwork at Waypoint(Looks attractive with a layer of Glass Beads that reflects sunlight)

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Design · Public Space ·