Reflecting City Pride

Palo Alto receives trippy public art pavilion courtesy of FreelandBuck

Cache Me If You Can, a new public art installation by FreelandBuck, is now on view in Palo Alto's King Plaza. (Photography by Eric Staudenmaier)

The city of Palo Alto, California, has a new public art installation in King Plaza, facing City Hall, that packs a significant number of architectural effects within a minuscule footprint. Titled Cache Me If You Can, the installation is a product of the Los Angeles– and–New York–based architecture office FreelandBuck and is made up of 20 triangular PVC plastic sheets, each of which features photographs taken by Alex Kim that document the life of King Plaza over the course a single day (May 31st, 2019, to be specific). The installation is centered within the plaza’s gridded pattern to minimize interrupting pedestrian traffic while offering a visual treat for those with a moment to spare.

During the day, the images play a series of optical illusions that invite visitors to visually “line up” the structure with the plaza it foregrounds while walking through its tunnel-like interior. At night, the installation is lit from the inside, causing the perforated surfaces to emit a glow that will keep a portion of the plaza illuminated and reveal a new set of images of the surrounding area.

Cache Me If You Can is centered within King Plaza to visually line up its imagery with the elements of its immediate surroundings. (Eric Staudenmaier)

“This project follows several of our previous large-scale installations designed as constructed drawings,” remarked FreelandBuck cofounder and principal Brennan Buck. “In this case, we worked with images of the site, articulating them graphically as a pattern of overlapping circles. Each pixel of the photograph produced five circles in a range of hues that, when averaged together, match the hue of the original pixel. From a distance, the photograph is clear, but up close, the surface of the pavilion disintegrates into an abstract pattern of vibrating discs.” Cache Me If You Can is a reflection of FreelandBuck’s continuing interest in the relationship between architecture and narrative. Just as no two people can experience a city in the same way, so too does the installation offer an unlimited number of vantage points as visitors make connections between the pavilion and its surroundings.

Cache Me If You Can is on view until June 2020.

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