Edge Condition at Pier 9 ...


Edge Condition at Pier 9: The Future of Making Things


Fully linked PDF available here: http://static-dc.autodesk.net/content/dam/autodesk/www/air/rfp/Edge%20Condition_RFP.pdf


Submission Deadline: April 17, 2015

Semifinalist Interviews: April 22- April 24, 2015

Proposal Selection Date: May 1, 2015

Installation Completion Date: November 2015



For over 30 years, Autodesk has empowered creative makers with the means to develop ground-breaking projects. Today, Autodesk continues this legacy by producing the tools for the world’s preeminent creators to push the limits of digital design and fabrication. Dedicated to digital craftsmanship, Autodesk’s Pier 9 Workshop pairs leading designers, architects, roboticists, craftspeople and experts across many fields, with world-class machinery and software. By supporting creative communities like Instructables.com, the Pier 9 Artists in Residence Program and key partnerships in industry and academia, Autodesk recognizes the crucial role collaboration plays in the future of design. Building from this, Autodesk is seeking proposals from teams for an outdoor installation to be designed and fabricated at the Pier 9 workshop and sited on the San Francisco Embarcadero between Piers 9-15.



This project will be unlike most traditional public installations in that it is expected to actively inhabit the installation space. Applicants may propose to do this with any combination of the following strategies:

o          Responding to the site conditions and spirit of Pier 9, a unique workshop wherein an engaged community shares the groundbreaking projects they make by hand and with state of the art digital fabrication tools. (Integrating additional site-specific aspects into proposals is encouraged, including elements that may relate to the history, environment, demographics of the installation area.)

o          Incorporating digital or physical modes of interactivity.

o          Creating visually stunning work.


The review committee welcomes submissions in the areas of sculpture, architecture, new media, furniture and other arenas of design. Regardless of medium, the selection will be based on an interest in supporting a project that visitors will recall as memorable, meaningful or inspirational.


The project must relate to the theme of “the future of making things,” specifically the synthesis between design processes and design software, and between hand tools and digital tools. We are interested in projects that dissolve these boundaries and either erode or highlight edges. The proposal should include a plan to integrate digital fabrication at some stage of the design process, and an aspect of this must be visible in the finished work.


 While the use of certain digital fabrication tools should play integral roles in the project, technology should not replace or overshadow the role of content. More specifically, the overall meaning or intention behind your proposal must be comprised of more than an enthusiasm for technology.




The installation area sits immediately between Autodesk’s Pier 9 workshop and the Exploratorium, and is only steps away from San Francisco landmarks like the Ferry Building and the Transamerica Pyramid. This a high traffic zone with millions of passers-by per year. The selected project will be located immediately on the water’s edge (separated by a low barrier) within an approximately 6,500 square foot plot on the waterfront side of the Embarcadero. The piece itself will be installed in a 20 ft. by 20 ft. area adjacent to Pier 9’s South side.  The site includes outlets for electricity and data. The installation project may have an exhibit duration of anywhere between six months to a year, and must be designed to maintain structural and visual integrity over this time period.



The selected project and team will be fully supported by the Pier 9 Workshop and will join Pier 9’s creative community of Artists in Residence, Creative Projects groups, and the Autodesk teams supporting Spark and Instructables.com. Pier 9 provides ample opportunities to produce great work, including collaborating with other designers and makers, receiving training on any of the machines in the workshop, and gaining software support for all Autodesk products (including free software licenses to Autodesk’s entire product line), all of which are supported by the expertise of shop staff. Along with the project budget, the selected team will receive a modest workspace and 24-hour access to the workshop.


A detailed project budget, including all material and minor subcontracting expenses must accompany each project proposal. Project budgets should not exceed $200,000. Teams will be expected to adhere to this budget. Budgets should include direct costs, travel, materials, and any outside production services that would need to be completed outside of Pier 9. A minimum of 10% of total project costs must be allotted for contingency expenses. The review committee expects for the finished product to be a professional-grade project with finishes durable enough for a yearlong waterfront installation. The selected team will be expected to comply with Autodesk policies relating to vendor policies and insurance coverage.


Because of the unique nature of the facility, it is essential for the chosen group to actively contribute to the creative community at Pier 9. Subsequently, the selected team must be living in the Bay Area for the duration of the project period in order to make the most of their workshop access. The review committee expects to support an innovative and inspiring project that makes the most of Pier 9’s facilities. For more information on the amenities available at Pier 9, see the Pier 9 Overview and Machine Catalog Instructables.


The selected project will receive support from Autodesk specialists working in public relations, marketing, video and photo documentation, software, and workshop fabrication. There will be an expectation that the team will work collaboratively with all of these groups to share their progress and their final product. Finally, the selected team will be expected to consult weekly with the Pier 9 Public Programs team regarding their project development. At specific points in the process, the project group will formally share their work with the creative community at Pier 9 and beyond. This includes:

  Posting Instructables related to the making of the project

  3 presentations to the Pier 9 Public Programs Committee for feedback

  1 lunchtime presentation to the full Pier 9 community, near project completion


Please be advised that this project must be shared with our neighbors, the Exploratorium and the Port of San Francisco. This process will include reviews and permitting procedures.



Please submit the following materials through the online application posted at pier9.slideroom.com. Inquiries concerning applications may be directed towards P9PublicPrograms@Autodesk.com.


          1 page statement regarding the concept, design, and siting for your proposal

          1 page statement regarding the fabrication strategy

          Up to 5 photos/videos of mock-ups or preliminary designs

          CVs for all proposed team-members, including exhibition histories if applicable

          Proposed budget (Please include direct costs, materials, and any outside production services that would need to be completed outside of Pier 9.)     

          Draft project calendar including proposed dates for prototyping workflow, workshop production time, testing, completion time(s), and out-of-town dates (if applicable)

          List of anticipated machines and materials needed (Pier 9’s full machine catalogue is available here. If a project requires additional machines not included in the catalogue, any costs associated with accessing these tools must be itemized in the project budget.)



Autodesk’s Pier 9 workshop is a state-of-the-art fabrication facility on the San Francisco Bay. The Artists in Residence (AiR) program gives artists, designers and Instructables authors a chance to work in Pier 9’s lab and workshops, to creative innovative work, and to share their projects with the D.I.Y. community. The primary goal of the residency program is to produce inspirational work by connecting innovative and creative individuals with Pier 9’s unique set of tools and resources. Edge Condition at Pier 9 is supported by Autodesk Pier 9’s Creative Projects Team; an extension of the AiR program that reaches entities including local universities, research teams, or those with projects that span a longer development period.



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