Felt Bats and Building Silhouettes Inspired by an Austin Landmark
The Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas is the spring and summer home to the largest urban bat colony in North America. Every evening around sundown, people in Austin gather to watch approximately 750 thousand bats emerge from the bridge to search for their insect dinners. Michael Hsu’s office highlights this spectacle with their design for custom panels in the lobby interiors at University Park, a new office building in Central Austin. On one side, the view from under the bridge is rendered onto double layered felt panels. On the other side, the design catches the bats in flight. These panels are fabricated by layering custom cut 5mm felt over a 3mm solid felt base layer, giving a sense of depth. Since the designer’s intent was to have a more handcrafted aesthetic, hand stitching is added around many of the bats and outlines of buildings on the panels.
Elsewhere, the design firm opted to think outside the box when designing the elevator lobbies. Rather than confining themselves to typical floor signage, they instead commandeered an entire wall. By covering the wall in 100% Wool Felt, a way finding tool doubles as a colorful art installation. The über graphic felt wall provides a contrast to the subtle aesthetic of adjacent CNC carved and painted panels depicting vintage typewriter keys. The fabrication techniques take advantage of the stability and structure of wool felt, which allows for clean cuts without any finishing or edge binding.