When we first moved into a vacant warehouse in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood in 2020 and began converting it into a state-of-the-art hardware development center, we had a lot of blank space to work with. One such space was a 24-by-90-foot wall spanning one full side of the warehouse.

To celebrate local art in our community and make this a great place for our engineers to work, we reached out to Portland-based multidisciplinary artist, educator, and art director Damien Gilley, whose murals have been sought by the likes of Facebook, the Portland Trailblazers, and the Oregon Institute of Technology. We asked him to conceptualize and create a mural to match the dimensions of the warehouse that would give our facility, clean room, and ignition-proof test cell a dose of experiential visual energy.

Through several rounds of revisions, Gilley worked closely with the First Mode team to envision something abstract and dynamic that would reflect a range of concepts relevant to our engineering work, including geometry, assembly, measurement, data, wires, planets, and architectural drafts.

Here’s what Gilley had to say about the original mural he developed for First Mode:

The works are thematically interpreting physical architecture as seen in photos of projects by First Mode in a highly abstract way. The art uses geometry and repetition in a composition that seeks to refer to the design process materializing from ideas to completion. Areas of loose arrangement give way to other areas of a more complete assembly. This echoes the creative process and problem solving nature of the projects and how they eventually materialize.

Repeated geometry and graphic elements refer to information, analysis, and precision of the projects at hand. Dashed lines and solid lines dash about making connections between things in an infographic manner. References to cords, wires, and tubing elements on the finished built objects also serve as visual graphics to connect areas across the canvas.

The floating nature of the works symbolize both the early conceptual stages of a project
and a literal interpretation of space (no gravity). The work combines and explores a balance of dualities of formless and physical, space and earth, and the process of a project from concept to completion. The dynamic arrangement is suggested more than a single pointed perspective approach due to the scale of the project and that viewing positions will change dramatically. Hence taking aim a small area is a composition in itself not reliant on the whole picture.

As Gilley painted, we set up two cameras to capture the process for a time-lapse. Watch the video below as the mural transforms the wall from a blank canvas to an abstract visual landscape of conceptual inspiration.

For more about Damien Gilley, check out his website and Instagram.

Want to work with us? We’re hiring! First Mode draws on the exceptional talent and creativity of its multidisciplinary team to solve the toughest problems on and off the planet. Check out our open positions in Seattle and Perth.