Dear Kickstarter Supporters,
First things first. I want to offer to everyone involved with the Kickstarter campaign my sincere apologies for our long radio silence. It's clear and understandable that going off the grid for so long has sown some feelings of cynicism and distrust in the community. I am happy to declare that your support was not in vain and that Urban Air is alive and strong. I’d like to take this opportunity to fill you in on where Urban Air has been, what we’re doing now, and to share some exciting news.
In the first months following our successful campaign, we optimistically set sail and braved the expected and unexpected challenges. We grew wiser and stronger, forged ahead, produced and delivered our premiums, and continued to grow the Urban Air team through key partnerships and alliances.
In Fall 2013 we presented Urban Air at SXSW Eco “Place by Design,” which was an honor and a great opportunity. In 2014 Urban Air was invited to the Boston Architects Gallery, the Danish Architecture Centre in Copenhagen, and Stockholm Museum as part of the “Reprogramming the City: Opportunities for Urban Infrastructure” exhibition. Urban Air was chosen to represent Los Angeles in an annual Swiss monograph called Atlas of World Landscape Architecture. These special acknowledgements were in addition to the more than 22,000 articles about Urban Air globally.
Also in 2014 the City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Office of Sustainability joined the team to help bring Urban Air into the world . . . but the timing was comically bad. The morning of our first planning meeting California declared the drought a state of emergency, and understandably the Mayor’s Office could not be seen planting gardens on billboards. At their suggestion we began to explore ways to integrate water issues into the larger Urban Air mission of climate change awareness.
At just this same moment, my studio was approached by the world’s leading builder of green skyscrapers to create an eight-story public sculpture, an environmental homage to the Hudson River in NYC. This artwork was commissioned to complement the entryway and public spaces of a radical new project by rock-star architect Bjarke Ingels. For his North American debut Bjarke designed VIA, an iconic and revolutionary tetrahedron skyscraper at W57th Street on the waterfront. As an artist, to achieve a work of this scale and prominence within this timeframe would prove to consume my entire physical, mental and creative self. For the entirety of the last two years my small studio was wholly dedicated to the creation and production of FLOWS TWO WAYS, and I had to shift everything else, including Urban Air, to a back burner.
The FLOWS installation was recently completed, and the sculpture now lives forever on Manhattan’s west side skyline. VIA was just named “world’s best new building” of 2016, and FLOWS TWO WAYS was celebrated as the most innovative NYC façade work in 50 years. Bjarke Ingels has moved on to Netflix stardom and his firm BIG is designing Google’s new campus. If you like, you can see FLOWS TWO WAYS here:
Which brings us to now. Stephen Glassman Studio moves into 2017 more committed than ever to Urban Air. With the shocking, cataclysmic shift in our national direction the world needs powerful symbols, ideas and solutions to be alive on the streets. Urban Air is more relevant than ever . . . and we intend to build it.
Of course, we are not the only creatives with this sense of urgency. Venice-based architect David Hertz and his Studio for Environmental Architecture (SEA), reached out to us. SEA has developed the Skysource water generation project, which creates and distributes fresh water from the air for irrigation and drinking – a kind of new urban well. Our common goals and shared aesthetics inspired a collaboration, and a new partnership was formed. Urban Air is now OPEN AIR. OPEN AIR remains the same iconic, transformative symbol, expanded to become also a beacon for water awareness. With this new partnership, Open Air feels inevitable. We are more certain, more excited, more optimistic and stronger than ever.
All of you successfully kick-started this project, and a powerful kick it was. We’ve been silent, but are still humming. We’ve learned a lot about big scale projects these last five years. We are back and more committed than ever. We will not go silent again, and we will not let you down.
Stay tuned . . . .