A Larger-Than-Life Butterfly Mobile for the Indianapolis Zoo

Imagine the space shown left, the Indianapolis Zoo‘s beautiful glass conservatory, full of larger-than-life, eye-catching, hanging kinetic mobile butterfly art by Banner Art Studio.

We are currently working on a fabric mobile suspended installation that, together with other elements designed by the Zoo’s Creative Services team, will transform the conservatory into a gigantic kaleidoscope. What an experience for patrons of all ages! Banner Art Studio has been commissioned to create architectural art for the large glass conservatory in the Zoo’s garden area known as White River Gardens, and the butterfly art exhibit will be open to the public in February/March 2013.

“We’ve had butterfly exhibits in the past,” says Jo Hohlbein, Director of Creative Services for the Indianapolis Zoo. “When we decided to bring butterflies back, the President of the Zoo gave me the mandate to create ‘something we’ve never seen before’.”

So her team got to work developing the Butterfly Kaleidoscope concept, an educational exhibit focused on the role color plays in butterflies’ lives. The vision was to transform the conservatory’s interior – a large 50′ long x 34′ wide x 96′ tall glass space – into a kaleidoscope. The team began exploring options for using light, color and motion to transform the conservatory’s open architecture and glass walls into a completely new experience. “Mettje’s work immediately said ‘kaleidoscope’ to me,” says Hohlbein.  Banner Art was commissioned to begin work on this exciting project.

“From my perspective, working with Jo Hohlbein has been enervating because of her perception of the physical space,” says Mettje Swift, founder and lead artist at Banner Art Studio. In addition to creating scale models and supervising the fabrication of this installation, Mettje has made herself available in an advisory role as the exhibit is created and installed. “The architectural drawings and field measurements that Jo took the time to assemble are key to this project,” says Swift. “The moment we ship the completed piece, the partnership between Banner Art, Jo and her installation crew becomes paramount. I remain on a retainer status during installation and look forward to seeing the completed project.”

In addition to the Banner Art hanging mobiles, the Zoo’s exhibit will contain water features defined by glass mulch in a variety of colors, colored films applied to key entrance and window areas, “stained glass” panels depicting the butterfly life cycle, and a butterfly emergence chamber with a tile mosaic installed on the front.

Mettje Swift, founding artist of Banner Art Studio created the model shown (left) as one in a series of working models from which she and her assistants will fabricate the full size mobile. The model shown is a 3/4″ scale model, incorporating the butterflies and color kaleidoscope concept.

The Indianapolis Zoo is a not-for-profit institution and one of the largest zoos in the country that receives no tax support. It was the first attraction triple accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the American Association of Museums as a zoo, an aquarium and a botanic garden. View Banner Art Studio’s Gallery of Large Scale Butterfly Art, which includes photos of the completed butterfly kaleidoscope installation for the zoo.

Banner Art Studio designs and produces large scale fabric art mobiles, banners and displays for architectural interiors in collaboration with our clients. Our large, lightweight fabric mobiles move with interior air currents. Their translucent fabric catches natural and man-made light to enhance the atmosphere of interior atrium spaces.

Banner Art Studio has produced art for museumsschoolsrecreation facilitiesUniversities and organizations across the nation and the world featuring butterflies, birds, spiders, tigers, and other plant, animal and insect life.

Our Installation, Care, and Maintenance Program is offered for all of the art that we produce. Learn more about Our Process and the high-quality materials we use on our FAQs page. See more fabric atrium art photography in our Galleries.

Contact Banner Art Studio today to discuss your concept, and to get started.


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