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Past Exhibitions

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Los Trompos banner

Los Trompos (Spinning Tops)

April 24–November 1, 2015

This work was the High’s second large-scale, interactive design installation by contemporary Mexican designers Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena on the Woodruff Arts Center’s Carroll Slater Sifly Piazza.

Los Trompos created a destination outside the Museum where patrons could enjoy recreation, social interaction, performances, art-making activities and special events co-organized with local partner institutions.

Overview

Los Trompos (“Spinning Tops”) was the High’s second large-scale, interactive design installation by contemporary Mexican designers Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena on the Woodruff Arts Center’s Carroll Slater Sifly Piazza. This site-specific work continued a multi-year initiative to activate the outdoor space and engage visitors. As a blank canvas for community engagement and programming, Los Trompos drew its inspiration from the form of a spinning top, a toy popular with children around the world. The project featured over 30 three-dimensional, larger-than-life tops in a variety of colors and shapes installed throughout the Piazza. The colorful surfaces of each “top” were created in part by flat nylon rope woven in a traditional Mexican style. By working together, visitors were able to spin the tops on their bases as they interacted with the structures.

The installation built on the success of 2014’s Mi Casa, Your Casa commission, for which Esrawe and Cadena dotted the Piazza with three-dimensional open frames in the shape of a house that invited visitor interaction. Los Trompos created a destination outside the Museum where patrons could enjoy recreation, social interaction, performances, art-making activities and special events co-organized with local partner institutions.

Around Town

In partnership with Midtown Alliance, the High brought Los Trompos to the streets of Midtown. Generous support was provided by Midtown Alliance and its members, including Bank of America Plaza, Cousins Properties, Franklin Street Properties, The Office of the Arts at Georgia Institute of Technology, and Selig Enterprises, Inc.

Tops were found at the following locations:

  • 15th Street Arts District Plaza
  • Federal Reserve Bank, 1000 Peachtree Street, N.E.
  • 999 Peachtree Street, N.E.
  • 12th Street and Peachtree Walk
  • Bank of America Plaza, 600 Peachtree Street, N.E.
  • Promenade, 1230 Peachtree Street, N.E.
  • Georgia Institute of Technology, Clough Commons

Piazza Activation Initiative

Los Trompos (“Spinning Tops”) was co-curated by Sarah Schleuning, curator of decorative arts and design, and Virginia Shearer, the Eleanor McDonald Storza director of education. The High’s piazza activation initiative was launched to explore how engagement with art and design can extend beyond the museum’s walls through dynamic installations, enlivened by a variety of programs, art-making activities and other interactive features.

On view July 18 through Nov. 30, 2014, Mi Casa, Your Casa featured 36 three-dimensional, vibrant red frames shaped like houses installed in a large grid on the piazza. Hammocks and swings offered daytime leisure and recreation options, and the High also worked with local arts organizations and Woodruff Arts Center partners to present live performances and art-making activities in the houses. This pilot project was enjoyed by more than 100,000 visitors.

Originally planned as a two-year project, the Piazza activation program was extended through 2017 with funding from a grant to the Woodruff Arts Center from the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation.

Designers in Residence

Two of the leading designers in Mexico today, Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena currently serve as designers-in-residence for the High Museum of Art. More than five years ago, they established their interdisciplinary design firm E+C. Esrawe is an award-winning industrial designer as well as a celebrated furniture, interior and product designer. Inspired by traditional Latin American design, architecture and folk art, Esrawe’s works are playful, sometimes humorous, and organic. Winner of the Bienal Iberoamericana de Diseño (2010) in the Interior Design Spaces category, Esrawe designed glassware for Nouvel Studio, with products available at Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue and the Walker Art Center. Like Esrawe, Cadena also is creative director of his own firm, Cadena+Asoc. Branding. Cadena’s collaborative designs explore the boundaries between art and science. Cadena has said of design that it “is not a luxury anymore, it is a necessity. Everything around us is design and should revolve around the direct and aesthetic benefit of humans and planet earth.” To this end, his designs focus on visual concepts influenced by the world around us.

Organization and Support

Support for this exhibition is provided by the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation.