The Betty T. Ferguson Recreation Center located in Miami Gardens, Florida offers swimming and aquatic fitness classes where participants need to hear and understand instruction. The Miami-Dade County’s art commission challenged artists to develop designs which would add vibrancy and address sound issues within the indoor swimming pool. Artist Xavier Cortada envisioned a design composed of scattered pool noodles up on the ceiling. Splash! features 972 custom colored pinta acoustic SONEX® Rondo Baffles individually suspended at varying heights to simulate a three-dimensional sound wave effect. The result was so audibly noticeable there wasn’t any need to do a post test
The unprecedented SPLASH! sculpture was commissioned as part of the City of Miami Gardens’ Art in Public Places Program—a program that aims to bring art into the community. The art commission challenged artists to develop designs which would add vibrancy and address sound issues within the existing indoor swimming pool at the Betty T. Ferguson Recreation Center.
In creating Splash! Artist Xavier Cortada, founding director of the Office of Engaged Teaching, Scholarship, and Creative Activities at Florida International University, collaborated with Colby Leider, Director of Music Engineering Technology at University of Miami, Frost School of Music to visualize resonant frequencies about the existing indoor swimming pool; charted shapes of calculated waveform results depicted a literal splash. Anthony Antonelli, Architectural Products and Projects Manager along with Eric Johnson, East Coast Sales Manager of Pinta Acoustic Inc., Minneapolis, MN helped coordinate the custom production and sale of 972 (3” diameter x 48” length) SONEX® RONDO Baffles to be suspended as ‘pool noodles’ above the pool with Xavier. SONEX® RONDO Baffles are made from light-weight, Class A fire-rated, expanded melamine foam; a fiber-free material that offers excellent sound absorption across all frequencies. Ryan Reznichek of All American Builders Inc., Fort Lauderdale, FL figured and constructed the aluminum frame, ‘stainless steel’ stretched cable suspension system above the swimming pool to support Xavier’s multi-colored vision and meet Colby’s requirements for ‘acoustic’ pool noodles to be precisely located and individually suspended at various heights in order to deliver the three-dimensional sound wave effect as planned.
"Splash!" is ultimately about fun, it also challenges viewers to think about physics. Through its placement in the space, the art helps viewers "visualize” sound as they are splashing in the water.