To kick off a fun, productive, and creative summer, the team at Feldman Architecture was lucky enough to be invited into Reuben Margolin’s private studio in Emeryville, CA. Reuben, a truly gifted kinetic sculpture artist, is a longtime friend of FA, and even created a kinetic sculpture piece that’s featured in our Telegraph Hill house.

Reuben has been creating his fascinating, mathematic, ever-changing sculptures for the last twenty years, “seeking to combine the sensuousness of nature with the logic of math.” After studying English and Math at Harvard, and travelling and studying around the world, Reuben created his first series of kinetic sculptures, lovingly named the Caterpillars (which reminded us of our own work…). These enchanting creations made of thousands of pieces of wood, string, and pulleys, draw upon mathematical and natural inspiration to crawl along the floor; the piece is powered by physics, and some extra-large batteries. We watched one of his caterpillars (shown below) scooch along the floor of his warehouse, perplexing even our most seasoned architects with its complex design and artistic curvature.

From caterpillars, Reuben departed in an explosion of different artistic directions, drawing inspiration from the natural world around him, such as the sea and the wind. We asked countless questions and closely inspected and admired Reuben’s wave creations- beautiful dangling webs of string and wood that smoothly glide through complicated systems of thousands of pulleys. These structures, suspended in air, break away “from the stubbornness of the ground” and allow for a smoother motion and more possibility in terms of lateral movement.

While enjoying some beers and snacks in Reuben’s studio, Reuben patiently answered a steady line of questioning from our designers (and Tai’s kids) covering a range of topics: design, transportation, logistics, and artistic inspiration. Reuben described projects that hotels, offices, private homes, and even one dance company commissioned, outlining the sometimes comical task of commodifying his art.

We all left in a state of awe, deeply impressed by Reuben’s mathematical mind and artistic creativity- feeling inspired to bring some of what we learned into our own work (both conceptually and literally). Please find more of Reuben’s work here, and reach out if you have any questions about what you see, or would like to connect with him directly!