Featured Project: Meander

We collaborated with Minneapolis-based design, fabrication, and build team Futures North, glass artist (and our neighbor) David Ruth, and LED programming consultant Max McDougall to create the permanent public artwork located outside CHS Field, home to the St. Paul Saints. Meander presents historical and ecological data from the Mississippi River. The name Meander was inspired by the way the river curves through Minnesota, with flowing lines cast into the concrete and the under lit glass that changes to show the water temperature, quality and flow rates. 

Futures North describes the project as follows:
Meander consists of 15 sculptural concrete pillars that creatively re-imagine over two hundred years of historical information about the Mississippi River. The artwork’s form is a three-dimensional interpretation of layered historical maps of a the Mississippi River as it flows through Minnesota. The curvature of the pillars references the river’s meandering path, and the changing heights of the pillars evoke elevation changes at each of the river’s locks.  The glass lanterns of Meander are lit with programmed LED lights, which represent ecological data remotely collected from the river: water temperature, water quality, and flow rates. Meander illustrates how data spatialization processes merge with a commitment to ecology, reimagining public spaces, and fostering new kinds of interactive engagement with public audiences.

Meander was realized using advanced techniques of computational design and digital fabrication in conjunction with age-old techniques of concrete and glass fabrication. Parametric modeling software was utilized to translate the river’s historical data to three-dimensional form. Robotic routing equipment facilitated the fabrication of custom molds for the cast concrete pillars and the cast glass lantern. Melding these advanced processes with traditional casting methods allowed the artists to reinterpret traditional media of masonry and glass in new and unique ways.

Visit http://www.meander.futures-north.com/ to learn more.


Futures North | http://futures-north.com/
Futures North is a Twin Cities-based public art collaborative comprised of Daniel Dean, John Kim, Adam Marcus and Molly Reichert. The work of Futures North synthesizes research, design, fabrication expertise, and innovative technologies to construct social art spaces. The use of computational design, digital fabrication, and custom software and electronics development is driven by a desire to leverage these technologies to explore new modes of public engagement and ecological awareness.


Ryan Companies
City of Saint Paul

Concrete Fabrication:

Glass Fabrication:
David Ruth

LED Visualization & Programming:
Max McDougall

Mississippi River Data Research:
Jacques Finlay / The Saint Anthony Falls Laboratory,
University of Minnesota

Photos provided by Futures North