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Ambiènte Gallerie: How it was done

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The fabric walls that enclose the individual treatment rooms at the Minneapolis chiropractic clinic and art gallery called Ambiènte Gallerie, can be raised to the ceiling when the space is opened for off-hours gallery events. Architect Ali Heshmati and fabricator Nora Norby devised a simple, but effective means of holding down the stretch fabric assemblies by using steel tubing (electrical conduit) for the top and bottom edges of the fabric walls, bent into an open-ended whorl shape to form doorless “rooms.” Fabric is attached to these armatures with stainless steel swivel trigger clasps (adapted from sailboat hardware) that in turn are hand clipped to stainless steel loops pop-riveted to the tubing. The fabric is surge edged to prevent fraying, and the scalloped points are reinforced with webbing and pierced with stainless steel grommets.

The assembly is hung at the top edge by theatrical rigging cord that runs through pulleys and off to the sidewalls where the multiple strands are gathered into a single heavier cord for tie-off to wall-mounted cleats. The bottom edge is pulled down to tension the walls and prevent sway by additional swivel trigger clasps that clip to recessed stainless steel floor rings (also adapted from marine hardware) that fold flat, flush with the floor when not in use.

Contributing editor Mason Riddle writes frequently about design and art.

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