One of the most interesting aspects of artistic projects like Crystal Flight is seeing how different creative minds can come up with such different design schemes. The designs of "Kong Returns," envisioned by Christopher Kelley and "Plane Jane" by Matt Rowan (coming to life with the help of co-workers from Gensler, the plane's sponsor), represents two examples of this variety. Art that draws from popular culture has a way of resonating with an extremely wide audience and for this reason, will likely be a big hit amongst area visitors!
"Kong Returns" is an attempt to recall childhood memories of the classic movie era. The vintage plane seemed to naturally lend itself to a theme of this type. The biggest challenge has been how best construct Kong’s hand. After many hours of trial and error it seems like a plan of action has finally been settled on. This Crystal Flight project has been a team effort as Christopher is joined by co-workers Beth Ready, Matt Rowan and Scotty Hasty collaborating on two separate planes: "Plane Jane" and "Kong Returns." Both planes are sponsored by Gensler.
An irreverent melding of the decidedly masculine fighter plane with the feminine design for a shoe, the "Plane Jane" reframes the viewer's expectations. Clad entirely in glossy black "patent leather" and the signature single button, the design motifs of the classic Mary Jane shoe find a new home on a jet.
So why was the "Mary Jane" chosen as a motif? A simple answer could be that it rhymes with plane. A more complex answer is that it provokes an immediate response depending on the viewer. Most women immediately understand the title, as frankly, the fairer sex has a much better understanding of shoes and their styles. Men tend to be a bit more confused, sparking conversation and debate as to why, exactly, one would clad a plane in black and stitchwork. Is it inappropriate? It it an attempt at being surreal? Is it a comment on war? Is it just a joke? The answers are up to the viewer- we're just setting up a topic of conversation. After all, provoking those types of things is what we believe great, fun design should do.
Artist Statement - Christopher Kelley - Kong Returns
A graduate of the University of Florida with a Master of Architecture degree in 1997, he is presently a project architect with Gensler in Washington, DC. Due to his dedication to the professional development of emerging professionals, Christopher has served on several local, state, and national boards and committees for the American Institute of Architects. Equally passionate about design of an academic nature, he has been a guest design critic and participated in panel discussions at various universities. He also actively pursues architectural and design competitions as a means of testing his pedantic ideologies. As a result of constantly exploring theoretical approaches to architecture, he has received several design awards and has had work exhibited at venues throughout the United States.
Artist Statement - Matt Rowan - Plane Jane
For Matt Rowan, The Crystal Flight project has been more of a true team effort than a one-man-show. Joined by three co-workers from Gensler, the group, affectionately known as "The Morning Zoo," is actually collaborating on two separate planes: "Plane Jane" and "Kong Returns." Both planes are sponsored by Gensler.
With a broad base of experience designing everything from corporate interiors, lighting fixtures, transportation systems, to custom china, Matt currently leverages this diverse background as designer in Gensler's Brand Design Studio. His exposure to multiple viewpoints and philosophies began at an early age, with the bulk of his childhood spent in Hawaii. The global city of Washington D.C. was his next home, offering a much more exciting but decidedly less tropical environment in which to grow. After attempting to abandon his artistic tendencies as a pre-med student at William & Mary, Matt quickly redirected himself towards the study of art, architecture, and psychology. While those three disciplines may initially appear to be disparate, Matt believes that all relate to the human experience, expression and perception of the spaces in which they live. Matt furthered his study of this philosophy at Art Center College of Design in California, where he graduated with honors with a degree in Environmental & Industrial Design.
Matt currently lives with his wife, Claire and son Will in Herndon, Virginia.
Gensler is a global design, planning, and strategic consulting firm, with more than 3000 professionals networked across 30 offices on five continents. Consistently ranked by U.S. and international industry surveys as the leading architecture and interior design firm, Gensler leverages its deep resources and diverse expertise to develop design solutions for industries across the globe. Since 1965, Gensler has collaborated with clients to create environments that enhance organizational performance, achieve measurable business goals, enrich people and communities, and enhance everyday experiences. For its longstanding commitment to the advancement of sustainable design, Gensler received the Leadership Award from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2005.
This year Gensler is celebrating over 25 years in the Washington DC Metro Area. Clients include Crystal City BID, Rosslyn BID, Arlington County, Discovery Communications, Corporate Executive Board, Gaylord Entertainment, and numerous Federal entities. We are also proud to have built a strong reputation and relationships throughout the development community, working with those who make an impact on the built environment of this community every day.