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  • Writer's pictureKevin Balmer

Digging Guildworks - Architecture of the Air

Over the summer, Diggable Monkey had the pleasure of getting to work closely with the Guildworks team. For years I'd been following their work as pictures would surface from the various festivals they'd been hired to help construct: Burning Man, Symbiosis. You know, the big ones... Their home festival in Portland, Pickathon, is a well-heeled boutique festival and surely among their most impressive efforts. Given their long history working with Pickathon producers, we chose this location as the primary spot from where to illustrate their story.

I first met Mar Ricketts in the summer of 2006. We were introduced through a mutual friend that brought him into a event production community I was leading at the time. As we rapidly toiled to transform a dark and dingy night club into a space-themed environment, Mar's tension fabric prowess was revealed out of the gate. That event turned out beautifully. Watch:

Mar and I encountered one another again, in 2010, as collaborators on the PDX Bridge Festival production team. His company was charged with appointing the Hawthorne Bridge, which was celebrating it's 100th anniversary that year. In conjunction with the light design that developed, the Guildworks fabric design was quite spectacular. Every evening for a couple of weeks, the bridge and and the fabric were lit up like a Christmas tree. Watch:

Our last encounter before we commenced the company doc project was at last years Design Week Portland festival. At the time, I'd been contracted by BORA Architects to help document their festival entry, which was a tension fabric structure. Not surprising, in the course of the project's development, they discovered Guildworks, expert tensile fabric architects within the local community. I asked Mar if he's like to participate in BORA film project and he agreed to say a few words on camera. In the brief course of our interaction during that session, we cooked up the project that would profile his company and the stellar work that they do all over the world. WATCH:

It's not everyday one gets to work on innovative and creative projects. I am forever giving thanks that this story-telling adventure includes so many talented and visionary people. Mar Ricketts and his company Guildworks were helpful, supportive and gracious. With any luck, I'll have another crack at working with these good people.

Looking ahead to the future, Diggable Monkey seeks to further develop content in the architecture/development/planning space. If you know anyone looking to highlight their project, you now know who to call!

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