AURUM, an outdoor sculpture by artist Ivan Toth Depeña
, is the centerpiece of Vantage South End, a just-completed mixed-use office, restaurant and retail destination and public park developed by the Spectrum Companies. Evoking themes of nature and shelter, the shade-giving sculpture includes six, 16-foot-wide aluminum composite canopies on 18-foot-high supports that complement the cantilevered and angular lines of Vantage South Ends architecture.
AURUM takes its design cues from the site and from the areas history. Inspired by the geometric facets of the gold nuggets discovered in the 1800s in the South Ends gold district, Depeña has created an immersive experience with light and shadows cast from the sculptures faceted polygonal intersections. Depeñas ethereal responses to nature, geometry and light were the driving forces for the entire installation. This is emphasized by his choice of the material that has a metallic quality when viewed from one direction and an otherworldly, iridescent blue aura from another perspective.
The sculpture was translated directly from various hand sketches into 3d modeling software for massing and form definition. The 1000+ skin elements were developed and cut in house and the structural framework was developed by a partnering fabricator. Each segment of the polygonal skin structure is unique, as well as, the connection plates and interior structural elements.
Depeña Studio used Parametric design software, not only to help develop the initial form, but also to maintain a direct dialogue with the collaborating fabricator and structural engineer in order to map locations/angles, track the number of parts and square footage in real time within the structure. This helped monitor a complex assembly process while processing the budget implications in real time during the many iterations of the form and refinement process.
The skin and the structure were assembled on site in a puzzle-like manner. The larger assemblies were then craned in, set into place, and permanently anchored to the footings to complete the installation process.
In addition, Depeña and landscape architects LandDesign developed a plan for the Vantage South Ends sunken courtyard. The spaces geometry and 3d massing overlaps and intertwines with itself via sculpted precast benches. This interplay with form and function where a bench becomes a curb element and the sculpture becomes a shade canopy is a complex play on Depeñas focus on disciplinary fusion.
Ivan Toth Depeña is an artist based in Charlotte, NC, after having lived and worked in Miami, FL and New York, NY. With a Masters Degree in Architecture from Harvard Universitys Graduate School of Design, Depeñas artistic production is informed by his experience in art, architecture, technology and design, and encompasses a range of media.
Depeña works in the public realm and maintains a rigorous studio practice. He has exhibited extensively, nationally and internationally, in both solo and group exhibitions, including the McColl Center, NC; Praxis NY, NYC; New Britain Museum of American Art, CT; Miami Art Museum, Frost Art Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami. Depeña has completed large public commissions in Denver, Albuquerque, Nashville, and Miami. His work is held in numerous public and private collections.
In 2014, Depeña received a prestigious Knight Arts Challenge Grant. He was a finalist for the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation program for Hispanic artists for 2017-2018. In addition, he received a nomination for the prestigious United States Artist grant in 2017. His public art projects have been selected for the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Year in Review including Air/Traffic/Control in 2019, Surface" in 2018, and Reflect in 2012