Sweet Sparkman Architects and Ringling College of Art and Design Partner to Present ‘ORIGINS’ at the 2012 Architecture Biennale in Venice, Italy

    Sweet Sparkman Architects and Ringling College of Art and Design Partner to Present ‘ORIGINS’ at the 2012 Architecture Biennale in Venice, Italy 

    August 28, 2012 - Sarasota architect Jerry Sparkman chose Ringling College and six students and three graduates to work collaboratively designing a conceptual interpretation of Siesta Key sand called ‘Origins’. The Biennale exhibit interprets how the quartz sands’ origins and characteristics influence and inspire their work.

    Sweet Sparkman Architects and Ringling College of Art and Design presented their joint conceptual architectural exhibit - ‘ORIGINS’ - at the 13th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia at the Palazzo Bembo in Venice, Italy. Previewing for the media on August 27 and 28 and open to the public from August 29 to November 25, the ‘ORIGINS’ exhibit was created by Sarasota architects Jerry Sparkman, and Todd Sweet and a multidisciplinary team of Ringling College of Art and Design students, staff, and alumni. 

    ‘ORIGINS’ builds upon the overall Biennale theme of ‘Common Ground’ and explores how design is significantly influenced by understanding of place and the context of a unique natural material-the pure quartz sand of Siesta Key. The exhibit features a sand waterfall, which flows from the ceiling via a hand cast glass vitrine, along with a 10’ x 10’ hand-cast glass block wall. 

    “The 99% pure quartz of Siesta Key sand both originated in Appalachian mountains and over hundreds of millions of years was refined to become our ‘Common Ground,’ and the unique qualities of this material influence and inspire our work,” said Jerry Sparkman, AIA NCARB, of Sweet Sparkman Architects. “When our firm was invited to present a concept for Biennale, I approached Larry Thompson of Ringling College to partner with us on the project. Larry embraced the idea immediately and with Christine Lange as project manager hand-picked six students to work with us conceptualizing and designing ‘Origins’ as well as providing staff, logistic and studio support.”

    “What happened next exceeded our expectations because I believe the way an artist interprets a concept is different from the way an architect does and the Ringling students added valuable depth, energy and insight to the project. We are delighted that we had access to some of the world-class talent at Ringling and we were able to share this experience with their students,” concluded Mr. Sparkman.

    “Needless to say, when Jerry Sparkman approached us with this unusual project-based learning opportunity that culminates in a prestigious international exhibition, we jumped on board with great enthusiasm,” said Ringling College of Art and Design president Dr. Larry R. Thompson. “With the Biennale alternating annually between Art and Architecture this partnership presented an opportunity to blend the creative disciplines of our Ringling students with the architectural expertise of Sweet Sparkman. Together they created a truly distinctive exhibit that reflects Sweet Sparkman's dedication to incorporating the materials and influence of the environment into their designs.”


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