December 2021 Newsletter

December 2021 Newsletter

Artisan Spotlight: Adam Taylor...Dome House Continues to Inspire...Special Collector Opportunity
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December 7, 2021 Volume 24

Adam Taylor

Bringing Introspection and Improvisation to the Art of Bronze Casting


An engaged member of the community at Arcosanti, Adam Taylor has lived there for the past three years. Identifying as binary and using gender-neutral pronouns, Adam has played various roles at The Urban Laboratory, including handcrafting bronze Cosanti Originals Windbells.


An artistic soul, Adam enjoys the artmaking, noting that it’s the most physically exerting art form this Greensboro, North Carolina native has explored. “Heavy lifting, shoveling sand; it’s taken a lot of physical adjustment to get my body acclimated to the weight that we’re working with,” Adam says.


With a self-described “improvisational” style informed by the shapes of the tools being used by the bronze artisans, Adam says, “I’m always looking over my coworkers' shoulders to see how they are going about it. I'm trying to unlock my tools as deeply as possible." The result? Beautiful windbell designs featuring geometric shapes like triangles, arrows, ladders, and circles.



Perhaps because of a theatrical background, it is no wonder that Adam’s favorite part of the bell-making process is the bronze pour:the foundry falls silent and everyone becomes hyper-focused and ready to respond, with all the bronze artisans' attention tuned into that moment. 


Before coming to Arcosanti, Adam worked as a lighting designer and technician for live events spanning theater, modern dance, music, and film. Even now, when not working in the bronze foundry, Adam runs Lexicon Light LLC, an event services company offering lighting and audio/visual services onsite at Arcosanti.



Adam is also a performing musician who plays the bansuri and harmonica. Through a series of effect pedals mixed with field-recorded nature sounds, Adam's interesting tracks of layered sounds contribute to the obscure genre of "Wild Ambient" music. In the photo here, Adam is playing the bansuri with Arcosanti's Colly Soleri Amphitheatre in the background. In 2019, Adam collaborated with other residents at Arcosanti on the Intelligent Lighting Project, a significant upgrade to the amphitheatre that transformed how events and programs can be infused with multi-sensory elements for a heightened performance experience.


Photo credits: David Blakeman (2), Jessica Jameson (1)

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Underfoot but Not Overlooked

The Surprisingly Interesting Floors of Dome House

by Jeff Stein



A centuries-old Italian craft tradition of inlaid work, usually in wood, but in Paolo Soleri's Dome House, intarsio using concrete...maybe for the first time ever. Maybe the only time ever.

Dome House, in Cave Creek Arizona, was completed in 1950, and is, in my opinion, perhaps the third most famous house in America (after Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, and the Walter Gropius house in Lincoln, Massachusetts.)


A model of it was displayed at the 1964 Brussels World’s Fair as an example of new American architecture. That model now resides in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City - a photo of it is included in the masthead of this e-newsletter.


Dome House was Soleri's first project after leaving a brief apprenticeship with Frank Lloyd Wright. In fact, it was Wright who was first approached to build the private residence but declined, citing his other in-progress projects, and instead referred his former students, Paolo Soleri and Mark Mills, to the client.


The house they designed is a spectacular blend of primitive and futuristic styles, though Wright's influence is obvious in many aspects of the dwelling. Among the truly creative design elements that make this house so special is its decidedly "unWright" concrete, patterned, and colored floor. Take a closer look: this is not paint, it is inlaid colored concrete – intarsio.

The prominent Phoenix-based architect Wendell Burnette, who himself once lived in the Dome House, has written about this captivating floor:

“A flowing ramp connects the upper and lower concrete floors of the house, the pouring of which Paolo Soleri remembered being like ‘a carnival.’ As the segments of the floor were poured Soleri, using a spoon, carved a spontaneous, flowing pattern, resembling the flamboyant desert flower, ocotillo. The pattern was then filled/inlaid with black, red and white integral concrete color, intarsio, and ground to a terrazzo – like finish. This pattern begins at the upper level, flows down the ramp underneath the stair treads, spreads out over the lower level, and out the front door.”

Paolo Soleri liked to tell this story and the floor at Dome House: At the end of construction, he and Mills invited Wright to tour Dome House.


Wright looked appraisingly at the different elements –the hearth, the natural stone in the walls, the elegant staircase with its water feature – and said, “that’s mine, and that’s mine, and that’s mine,” taking credit for these particular innovative design features that Wright himself was widely known for...and that the young architects had boldly used in Dome House. But then, looking down, he said, “but the floor? That’s Paolo’s.” 

The unique intarsio floor. This single element of the Dome House represents a tremendous amount of work that had to be completed quickly, and 70 years later, it remains vibrant and provocative. So much so that it inspired a collection of ten Sculptural Bell Mobiles designed and cast by Soleri's former artisan apprentice, Abel Alday (pictured here with Soleri), in the 1990s.

With special thanks to Jeff Stein, architect and member of The Cosanti Foundation Board of Directors, for contributing this insightful story.


Photo credits (top to bottom): Jessica Jameson; courtesy The Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust;; Julius Shulman, Architectural Forum; Jessica Jameson; Architectural Digest India; Jessica Jameson; courtesy The Paolo Soleri Archives at Arcosanti.

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Artisanti Editor & Creative Director: Kelly Bird

Contributing Writer: Chloe Sykes, Jeff Stein

Graphic Designer: Jesca Wales

Photo credits: Courtesy MOMA and The Paolo Soleri Archives at Arcosanti (header); Jessica Jameson Photo (footer)