IndieCade (or the stuffier name, International Festival of Independent Games) is the only stand-alone festival for independent games. It’s an annual chance for game developers to strut their stuff to the general public and perhaps find a bit of fame and fortune self-marketing their projects.
Last Saturday, I caught day two of the big festival and I prepared myself for an onslaught of avant-garde propositions in gaming. I certainly found that, but alongside it, I stumbled upon Gregg Fleishman‘s standout architectural designs.
Known for creating plywood structural pieces that play with geometry and negative space, Fleishman has been a Burning Man mainstay for the past several years. At IndieCade, he instantly wowed me with the whimsical check-in stations he created for the festival situated on Main and Culver Boulevard. Yes, yes, check-in stations are so mundane and they can easily be accomplished by simply putting up a tent or two (which IndieCade also did), but thankfully they also included some great pieces in stark contrast to the blah-ness of white tents.
Fleishman’s structures were oddly perfect for the event. Like IndieCade, Fleishman espoused a certain DIY spirit, creating structures that used no special joinery. Cut out with the use of a CNC router then assembled in a few hours, Fleishman’s structures are life-size puzzle games that could easily be built by anyone who can read instructions.
Aside from contributing structures, Fleishman also contributed his studio space as one of the stops for the multi-venue event. Inside, gamers of all shapes and sizes infiltrated the Culver City workshop and promptly plunked themselves on Fleishman’s equally appealing furniture. Fleishman’s furniture showcased the same strong geometry as did his large-scale structures, only this time his seating structures had an extra oooh factor in that you could actually see them being stress-tested right before your eyes. I tried it myself and found the plywood resiliently holding my weight.
Fleishman’s seating structures are unlike the normal chairs we use that have a clear base and foundation. Instead, large pieces are often cut out creating a visually-appealing negative space and a sense of being light and flimsy. You don’t expect his chairs to hold a full-grown man’s weight, but it does to your delight.
I poked around the back room and found myself talking with the artist himself. It turns out that he’s been working on a plywood electric car on the side. According to him, he’s taken it out on the boardwalk for short runs, but he has yet to figure out how to make it go fast enough for actual road trips. I bet he got some stares when he took that baby out for a spin.
Fleishman rattled off a few more appearances, but his main goal is to explore large-scale housing. His modular structures flat-packs, easily assembles and can be added upon easily, making them great candidates for disaster housing.
Gregg Fleishman gallery is located at 3850 Main Street, Culver City. Check out how one of his structures go up.