Notes from the Paper(Clip) Trail

Author’s Note: It’s true, time flies. We don’t typically notice the daily changes that occur around us until we get a sense of deja vu or pause for reflection; only then do we seem to account for the rapid rate at which time progresses.

It’s mid-July 2018. Our design team is in full swing bustling with product research and procurement, client updates and approvals, all in the midst of the daily checkoff for project progress. Yet, two years ago we sat deep in thought, envisioning the design scope for ImageNet’s Tampa Office.

As designers, creativity is all in the course of our job, but sometimes unique opportunities arise that seem to call for above-and-beyond, visual storytelling. Here we’d like to share the account of how one of our most proud and prolific art installations came to take place.

  • April 2015 ImageNet Tampa contracts Space As Art for their corporate office renovation.
  • May 2015 ImageNet outlines thematic design requirements which include: a tribute to the office’s location, corporate color branding and reference to the company’s origin as a paper-based, typewriter company.
  • June 2015 Eureka! The design team gets a stroke of genius.

Alfred Hitchcock states, “ideas come from everything.” This is a truth that, like time, only seems to come into perspective upon moments of reflection. It was mid-June 2015 and Space As Art was on deadline to provide ImageNet with their Design Concept presentation. It came naturally to incorporate their colors of blue and orange into the high-tech concept, as well as, go abstract and bold with tributes to Tampa Bay. Relaying the company’s origin however, was quite a challenge.

We wanted to flood the design with hype for this cutting-edge company bringing the pre-digital era of printing to modern day; Mixing in the old school just didn’t seem to line up naturally though. We questioned and challenged ourselves with how to reference paper without being obvious, cliche, or unsophisticated. Our cognitive wheels turned and turned until a simple glance down at the supplies on our desk, led to the paperclip.

It was perfect; Subtle, but directly associated, flexible for construction, and it let us do right by recycling and repurposing. We had a winner. The paperclip would serve one-of-a-kind art pieces for the main hallway and the open office space.

Our creativity erupted and we conceptualized two paperclip waves. The abstract, angular configuration flowed perfectly for our geometric scheme and the overall waveform symbolized ImageNet’s transition from their pre-digital origin to being at the forefront of printing technology; Our client was over the moon.

  • October 2015 Architectural and Interior Design drawing sets are completed
  • April 2016 The original building has been fully gutted and work begins on the new interior construction
  • September, October, and November 2016 Space As Art builds the paperclip waves

It’s always one thing to conceptualize an idea and a whole other thing to make it a reality. Our paperclip waves stood to be 8 to 9 feet in height and between 10 to 17 feet in length. It took over 9,000 paperclips to construct both pieces. Sonika spent three months at 2-hour increments, hand-linking and individually forming sections of the waves.

  • November 2016 The paperclip waves are installed

Sonika walked into ImageNet Tampa at 10 AM, paperclips in hand, prepared for a day-long installation. Pictures don’t do it justice, but these handcrafted pieces speak straight from our designer hearts testifying to who we are, what we do, and why we do it. For us, there is no greater sense of accomplishment than knowing what we create is 100% tailored, authentic and definitive in acknowledging that space is art.

It’s mid-July 2018 and the design team now muses over upcoming projects and the creative possibility that sits in front of them.

For a closer look at the entire design for ImageNet Tampa, and more project photos, check out the ImageNet Tampa project page here.






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