Artists, activists, and members of the community were invited to submit prototype concepts to turn Market Street, San Francisco’s grand pedestrian boulevard, into a more engaging and vibrant destination.
With the home of Alonzo King LINES Ballet – LINES Dance Center – in the heart of Central Market, we decided this would be an incredible opportunity to bring the creativity and artistry from within the building out into the public space. Our prototype, the “Inside Out Dance Studio” was born, and was one of thirty projects selected to participate in the Market Street Prototyping Festival, October 6-8, 2016.
The mission of Alonzo King LINES Ballet’s "Inside Out Dance Studio" is to raise awareness for arts in Mid-Market, encourage the exploration of individual movement, and inspire creativity and artistry in everyday life.
“The qualities we admire in great dancing are the same qualities we admire in human beings: honesty, courage, fearlessness, generosity, wisdom, depth, compassion and humanity.” – Alonzo King
Step 1: Materials
1. Wood: Reused preferred but may not be feasible since it needs to be straight. Framing will travel with mirrors to be reused.
- (6) Panels outdoor grade plywood: 4 x 8’; ½-¾“ thick
- (15) 2x4 uprights: 8’
- (6) 2x4 rear braces: 10’
- (2) 4’ and (1) 9’ large wood dowel for barres
2. Acrylic from TAP Plastics
- (4) Mirrors, 4’ x 8’, 1/8” thick
- (2) Clear plastic sheets, 4’ x 8’ 1/16” thick
- Mirror mastic
- Wood screws
- 3/8” bolts, fender washers, and wingnuts
- ¼” threaded rods, fender washers, and wingnuts
- (24) ¼” tee nuts
- (6) large turnbuckles
- Large screw hooks for attaching turnbuckles and chain
- (7) closet rod hangers
- (2) Chain and lock for access corner
- PVC tubing, endcaps and elbows
- Various drill bits, including 7/16” and 9/16”
- Saw and miter box
- Adhesive: Super 77
- Matte knife
5. Poster (1) with prototype information from a52 sings: 4 x 8’
6. Blank board (1) to attach archival posters from a52 signs: 4 x 8’
7. Archival posters from LINES stock
8. Custom eco-safe vinyl lettering for mirror decal from a52 signs: 42x42”
Step 2: Design
We used SketchUp to do the initial renderings and first revisions. For the main project, we built a 1:12 scale model using balsa and the actual mirror material, which was very helpful.
Step 3: Fabrication
To begin the build process, lay out on a flat surface two pieces of the plywood. Frame them left and right with the 8’ 2x4s, then span the whole thing with the 10’ 2x4s, one at 2’ and one at 6’. Now, label every single piece of wood you have set out. It needs to go back to this exact position! Once everything is squared up, put a screw in every place where the 2x4s meet. Once you have it all tacked together, drill 7/16” holes for the bolts at every joint (right next to those screws) and 9/16” holes through the 10’ crosspieces all the way in to the plywood. Make sure you are keeping everything lined up as you go!
Once all those holes are drilled, pull the screws out, move the set of 2x4s and plywood aside, and do it the whole thing two more times.
Next, take the plywood and flip it over to the ‘front’ or ‘outside’ side. Using a matte knife, cut away the first few plys in about a 1” square around the holes. It should be deep enough for the tee nuts to slip into the hole flush once they are pounded in – about 1/8”. Take the tee nuts and hammer them in to the plywood.
Lay out 4 of the plywood panels and use the mirror mastic (read those instructions!) to attached the mirrors to the plywood. Make sure they are straight and not sticking out on the sides or bottom of the sheet.
Finally, take the 10’ 2x4s and bevel each end using the saw and miter box. Ideally, it should be a 60 degree angle, but you can also use a shallower angle and just cut in from the end. At about 12” from each end of the crosspieces, drill a pilot hole and install the screw eyes on the ‘top’ of the 10’ 2x4s.
We highly recommend assembling each side of the piece at your workspace, to make sure the holes line up and that the hardware goes in smoothly.
Lastly, for the poster side of the installation, we created a collage using recycled LINES Ballet posters and adhered them to a blank 4x8' board.
Step 4: Installation
Once you have tested the fit of all the sides, take them back apart and load them in the back of a cargo van. You can protect the mirror surfaces using foam, packing blankets, or any other material that will prevent scratches without being too bulky. First load the sheets, all in a stack, followed by the 2x4s, and them all the various bits and bobs.
Once you arrive at your installation site with at least 3 helpers, unload everything from the van. Lay out the 2x4 frames and bolt them together. Once they are nice and tight, lift up the frames and use the turnbuckles to tighten them together by attaching them to the screw hooks. This won’t be perfect, they will be a little loose (which is good!) so plan to have a person or two holding a corner.
Then, start placing plywood panels one at a time into the frames, and attach them by screwing the threaded rods into the tee nuts, following on the inside with a fender washer and a wingnut. Make sure to not go too deep and distort the mirrors!
Once 5 of the 6 panels are in place, drill two holes large enough for the chain to pass through in a 2x4 upright at a corner, just above the crosspieces. Attach the last panel. Now that you are stuck inside, release the turnbuckles on the corner with the chain holes, and prepare chain on the screw hooks. Open the corner just enough to slip out, pull the chain tight through the holes, and lock it off.
Get your foamcore panels and attach them to the two open plywood sheets using Super 77. Once they have a chance to dry, attached the 1/8” plastic sheets to protect them. Make sure to use a plastic bit when drilling through these, they crack easily.
Attach the closet rod hangers to each 2x4 on either side of the mirrors. Then, screw the dowels in place on the hangers. On the exposed ends of each dowel, attach a PVC tube by drilling directly through it and screwing it to the end of the dowel. Extend the tube down to about 20” above the ground, and attach an elbow. On the 2x4, screw an PVC endcap onto the 2x4 at the height of the other tube. Finally, insert a piece of tubing between the elbow and the endcap.
If you choose to install vinyl lettering, we recommend using masking tape to affix the quote, then cutting the pre-printed quote into sections and installing one section as a time. Remove the back paper, use an applicator to press the quote onto the mirror, and then remove the top paper.
Step 5: Interaction
While the installation does not require specific instructions about usage, we have suggestions about how to maximize interaction:
- Programming is key. We had groups of dancers from LINES Ballet professional company, Education Programs, and Dance Center participate with improvisational movement next to the structure at various points throughout the festival. This helped to encourage participation by passersby.
- Music is vital. During the times that we provided live and recorded music, interaction by passersby drastically increased.