Florida-based public artist, JEFRË and New York-based Michael Counts and 3-Legged Dog create The Beacon, an art installation for Orlando community, Lake Nona.
By Jacob Engels
Lake Nona is collaborating with internationally renowned artists, JEFRË and Michael Counts on a public art project to launch in tandem with the opening of phase one of the Lake Nona Town Center, which opens this winter. Located in Orlando, Lake Nona is an 11-square-mile innovative community and one of the fastest growing master-designed communities in America, owned by Tavistock Group, an international private investment organization founded by Joe Lewis.
The Beacon is a six-story installation designed by celebrated Florida-based public artist JEFRË, and brought to life with video concepts and designs by Michael Counts, a New York-based installation designer and immersive theatre director in partnership with the 3-Legged Dog (3LD) Art and Technology Center. The art installation will be a focal point of the first phase of Lake Nona Town Center. The Beacon is a 60-foot sculptural steel enclosure, inspired in part by the first Stethoscope, wrapped with high-definition video projections, creating cinematic video artwork that will bring the structure to life each night.
The Beacon is hollow inside and its outer layer is composed of aluminum panels with scalloped edges. Featuring a rotating array of sculptural video concepts conceived by Michael Counts and created by a team of designers at 3LD, the look and character of the structure – as well as the overall experience at Lake Nona Town Center – will be continually evolving.
Accompanying this installation is another artwork called Code Wall, also designed by JEFRË, a 264-foot-long wall that adds an outer layer to the Lake Nona Town Center parking structure. This layer is perforated with binary code and adorned with dichroic glass panels that reflect sunlight, and choreographed LED lights. The binary code is illuminated by dynamic lighting design by Michael Counts and Ryan O’Gara.
Example of the installation’s lighting.
When translated, the code spells out the various missions and goals of the Lake Nona community, for example: inspire, participate and connect. The technology and programming developed by 3LD will allow for full multimedia experiences, with music, light, video, interactive elements and performances to be created by other digital and performing artists for future presentations at Lake Nona Town Center.
“The Beacon and Code Wall help fulfill our vision of making the Lake Nona Town Center a celebrated gathering place within the community,” said Lake Nona President Jim Zboril. “We are taking a parking garage – typically one of the least aesthetically pleasing visual elements of a development – and are turning it into a leading edge, technology-oriented centerpiece.”
“Being a resident of Orlando for 15 years and having completed monumental works around the world, it was an honor to finally create a postcard moment and destination for Lake Nona and Orlando.” said JEFRË. “Over 62 million visitors come to Orlando each year and possibly their first and last view, as they fly in and out of Orlando International Airport, will be of The Beacon at Lake Nona.”
“I’m thrilled to be collaborating with JEFRË and the incredible team at Lake Nona on such a forward thinking public art project. Creative and technological opportunities that push the envelope, as this project will, are rare in my experience. I have no doubt that this artwork will have resonance throughout Orlando and well beyond and will be a piece with enduring significance,” said Michael Counts.
The first phase of the Lake Nona Town Center, a Tavistock Development, will open this winter and will feature restaurants, an office building and two hotels, a Marriott Residence Inn and Courtyard by Marriott. A next phase is under design expected to include additional office and restaurants, a cinema, a fitness center and retail. At build out, the Town Center will include more than one million square feet of shopping and entertainment options contiguous to Lake Nona Medical City.
Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org