Synthesizing robust architecture and design virtuosities with a South American toolbox, Great Things to People (gt2P.com)is a Chile-based collective of unmatched artistry. With “Conscious Actions,” a new installation in the Miami Design District, the ensemble is bringing great things to the people of South Florida.
“We bridge the gap between the art and the audience,” said architect Guillermo Parada, co-founder and creative director of gt2P. “Our art represents that direct relationship and the idea is completed when people activate and become a part of it.”
Through each work of art, gt2P takes advantage of human and environmental forces and develops “interactive pieces in that kind of expression,” Parada said.
g2tP was established in Santiago in 2009 by Parada and Tamara Pérez, who first crossed paths while studying architecture at the University for the Arts, Sciences and Communications in Chile. Sebastián Rozas, a graduate school colleague, and Victor Imperiale, a business partner, joined a few years later and now round out the quartet.
All four are trained architects who specialize in “paracrafting,” an unprecedented craftsmanship interlacing “parametric thinking with traditional techniques driven by our cultural heritage,” Parada said.
Years ago, when parametric design was emerging in the architectural industry, “we all shared similar interests in digital and physical fabrication,” he recalled.
However, because adequate technology wasn’t available in their home country at the time, gt2P had to apply their education beyond the scope of a computer. So, they learned to design, develop, fabricate and install and turned their studio into a successful, sustainable business.
Today, gt2P boasts a boundary-bending portfolio epitomizing, in Parada’s words, “the collaborative nature of design creation.” By joining forces with scientists, gt2P has encountered significant “eureka” moments sparking opportunities to blend new materials, textures and electronic fixtures into artwork.
The studio’s 2014 showpiece “Less CPP N°2: Porcelain vs Lava Lights”is a heralded product of such innovation currently showcased at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s permanent collection in New York. Visitors can run a finger over slabs of Chilean volcanic lava baked with cutting-edge sensor technologies, and the rocks operate as natural dimmers illuminating porcelain LEDs.
gt2P’s discovery that lava melts at the same time that porcelain hardens catapulted future paracrafting projects.
“‘Less CPP N°2’ defines our ‘eureka’ statement and was an inflection point in our career,” Parada said of this important work. “This was when we realized that we have something to say, and we continue to produce art through that technique.”
gt2P’s multidisciplinary, 3D projects have won internationally-coveted spots at the Met and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City, London’s Design Museum, Australia’s National Gallery of Victoria and now Miami’s flagship urban attraction.
The studio won gold in the Design District’s 2020 Design Commission with the proposed display “Conscious Actions,”which debuted on Nov. 27. It was announced in January that the exhibit would become permanent.
Due to the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, gt2P never traveled to the U.S. to construct “Conscious Actions.” The team instead placed all its trust in ALT BLD, an Atlanta-based production firm, to execute the proposal, collaborating remotely from start in September to finish in November.
“Thanks to Zoom, we can now do any kind of project in any part of the world,” Parada noted.
Situated between the Cartier and Hermès storefronts, “Conscious Actions” transforms elementary school recess into an experiential concept engrossed in the competition’s theme of energy. Visitors hop on a multicolored, playground-style swingset and are treated to reactive shadows, transformative surfaces and kinetic motion.
The aqua-and-peach structures underscore the direct impact of natural forces on the environment while also inviting users to “enjoy the carefree fun of childhood again,” said Anna Carnick, co-founder of ANAVA Projects, the curators behind the 2020 Design Commission.
“gt2P’s poetic design reflects both on the energy we consume and the energy we contribute back to the world,” added Wava Carpenter, co-founder of ANAVA.
The exhibition also previously featured rainbow-hued umbrellas in tree branches scattered throughout the neighborhood’s greenery. Floating parasols created whimsical lighting effects and worked with natural elements to provide an inspirational experience for visitors.
“The installation champions the critical importance of consciously acting for the benefit of our environment and each other,” echoed Lauren Gnazzo, founder and president of Gnazzo Group, the public relations consultant to the Design District.
“By providing interactive installations like ‘Conscious Actions,’ we seek to continue to play a key role in Miami’s ever-expanding cultural fabric as well as inspire positive change in the community,” said Craig Robins, president and CEO of Dacra, the Design District’s principal real estate developer.
Both gt2P’s latest invention and the Design District’s modernism convey Parada’s notion that “people should be at the center of any design project.”
“We are empowered by each other and by the many things that happen each day,” he remarked.
Now, the artists aspire to open a concrete studio in the city of Miami in the near future. Via the Design Commission, gt2P found its home in public work over private premieres. The input doesn’t compromise their experimental ideas, and the output reaches a wider audience for free.
This is paramount to Parada, because in his eyes, expression and engagement make up the backbone of all communities.
“Imagine a world with no music, no playgrounds, no art,” he exclaimed. “Art gives a message to the population. We like to make people enjoy — or better yet, dream.”
words & photo_gianna milan