Jorge Pardo

Jorge Pardo

Untitled, 2001

Silkscreened ceiling panel installation


Commissioned with MIT Percent-for-Art Funds

Jorge Pardo’s design covers not the walls, but the ceiling of the Graduate Dormitory at 224 Albany Street. Pardo was selected to design a work for the new 224 Albany Street dormitory by a committee that included the dormitory housemaster, the renovation architects, graduate students, and MIT Facilities project staff.

The similarity of this space to others with which he had worked, his embrace of functional building materials and design elements such as lighting, and his strong color sense all suggested he would be able to transform the public lobby space and give it a special character. He designed a vibrantly hued ceiling, which has been silk screened on the acoustic tiles by Jo Watanabe Studio of Brooklyn, NY, and also hand-painted on the metal hanging system.

*Note - this artwork is only accessible by guided tour.

Building Number: NW30

Accession Number: PFA.2001.001

Audio Transcript

Cuban-born artist, Jorge Pardo, explores the ambiguous territory between art and design, function and form. Some of his best-known work includes furniture, lamps, ceramics, even a boat. This work is part of the MIT Percent-for-Art, an initiative begun in 1968 that allocates a portion of the budget from each new building project or major renovation to the purchase or commission of art for public space.

Pardo's 2001 commission, Untitled, is installed in the MIT graduate dormitory, the Warehouse. Here, Pardo designed a plaid pattern and silk-screened it onto the ceiling tiles, extending the design onto the metal strips framing the tiles.

Former List public art curator, Patricia Fuller.

This is the social space. This is the heart of the building. It's where the reception desk is. You have this continuous pattern animating the tiles. It's sort of like a painting that's embedded in an architectural setting. It's interesting, and he chose the ceiling, and it's not the wall at eye-level where you traditionally expect to see art. It risks, in fact, even being overlooked at least as art. It demands an adjustment of the viewer away from this expectation.