We are commissioned to design an artwork for the main entrance of a new retail development in downtown Philadelphia that spans three blocks. The main entrance is a four-story glass cube. Our installation will be along the full height interior walls of the glass cube.
One of the strongest features of the entrance is the vertical pedestrian movement within the cube through escalators as well as the movement outside of the cube, both pedestrian and vehicular, along Market Street. Our installation produces a three-dimensional iridescent surface using a series of custom shaped and bent colored aluminum fins along with mirrors. The goal is to produce a surface that changes based on the internal and external movement around the site. The main inspiration from the piece comes from color interference found in nature such as peacocks, certain fish and reptiles, and shells of stag beetles. While iridescence is achieved in nature through microscopic differences in layered material, we are trying to achieve a modern version of the roof tiles in Antoni Gaudi’s Casa Batlló where he achieves an iridescent quality through coloration which is activated by how the sunlight hits the curved roof. In our case, we are using precisely cut aluminum fins to produce a lenticular effect along with a defined color range. Much like the scales of a fish, neighboring fins become more visible as you begin to move past them. Mirrors laminated to a portion of the fins reflect the color on the backside of each neighboring fin further mixing the various colors and surrounding environment. The front and backside of the array of fins each have a unique spectrum of color, giving visitors a different experience as they enter and exit.
Photos: Alan Tansey