How Can a Mural Make Plumbing and HVAC "Beautiful and Calming"?

That was my latest challenge! 

My clients at Seaman Engineering in Auburn, MA have recently done a fantastic redesign of their office space, and wanted a statement piece for their conference room to cap it off. Thanks to Linda Sbrogna at Sbrogna's Artistic Promotions, I was brought in to make this happen! When we talked about goals for the mural, their priorities were to create a dynamic representation of their business for client meetings that would also be engaging and soothing for high-pressure internal meetings.

My contact Deb (who started the company with her husband Kevin) had a collage in mind, which she described as a “Where’s Waldo?” of plumbing, HVAC and fire protection engineering.  Her idea was for people to see more in the mural as they spent more time looking at it.  She brainstormed everything from toilets and sinks to water heaters and HVAC ducts.  When Deb talked about the pride her engineers take in their work- seeing their plumbing as art- I started to put together a vision for the piece.  Deb also mentioned that her team focuses on the importance of balance in their designs, which became important in my final design.

Other priorities for the mural were to include the psychrometric chart (which is also part of their logo) and the U.S. Green Building logo (they are LEED certified).  As I looked around the office, I also took inspiration from their color scheme of warm grays together with the blue of their logo.  Finally, Deb shared that she and Kevin love the ocean - and that they hatched the idea of starting Seaman Engineering while they were at the sea! Measuring the wall, we decided on 48” x 32” as the perfect size for the space. Below are some of these images:

 Seaman company logo

Seaman company logo

 U.S. Green Building logo

U.S. Green Building logo

 Shot of Seaman plumbing job

Shot of Seaman plumbing job

 Shot of Seaman HVAC job

Shot of Seaman HVAC job

 Seaman engineering drawing

Seaman engineering drawing

My first step was to put together what I call a concept “sketch” – which is a scale painting (in this case ¼ scale) of what I propose for the final piece.  In this, I try to get all of the elements, color and proportions as close as possible to what I envision for the final, larger mural.  My concept was to play with the “balance” idea between air/HVAC and water/plumbing, using the psychrometric chart as the dividing line between the 2 parts.  I then played with the idea of plumbing and ducts as art and intertwined them with nature to emphasize the water and air elements while creating a calming scene and incorporating the importance of the ocean for Deb and Kevin. I also wanted to include aspects from the engineering drawings, with the fan symbol and other call-outs from the drawings they shared. Below is the concept:

 Concept "sketch"

Concept "sketch"

After reviewing this concept sketch, the only change the Seaman team wanted was to include a sprinkler head to include the fire protection part of their business.  Below is the image I used for this:

With this in hand, I moved forward to painting the final piece.  When I delivered it, Deb was thrilled, sharing that it was so much more than she had envisioned!  I’m happy that it will be enjoyed during many meetings to come.

Enjoy,

Jason

 Final 48"x32" mural panel

Final 48"x32" mural panel