Orion RED teams up with artist Stuart Keeler, one of Canada’s most renowned sculptors, with a passion for sustainability and improving our experience of the places in which we live, work, and play. For him, the urban environment is a laboratory that gives an opportunity to have fun with new ideas and collaborations.
Why is our built world so bland, beige, and boring? (Stuart Keeler)
“Why is our built world so bland, beige, and boring?” asks artist Stuart Keeler. His latest permanent installation, Taxonomy of a Cloud, couldn’t be further from bland, beige, and boring: it fills the Green Build Terminal 2 Expansion at the San Diego International Airport with a level of brilliance that has travellers reaching for their sunglasses.
Inspired by the natural phenomenon known as ‘lattice clouds’, the 26-foot-high sculpture, assembled and installed by Orion RED is suspended above the food court (dubbed ‘Sunset Cove’) is a cascade of 35,000 Swarovski Glacial Drops in 261 strands that hang from the center of an abstracted cloud formation made from aluminum tubes. The whole ensemble is arranged to resemble a sparkling rain shower. In order to reflect the San Diego sky on the longest day of the year of 2011, he chose a spectacular spectrum of blues: Crystal Clear merges with Water Blue, Dark Sapphire Blue, Silver Shade, Medium Sapphire, and Crystal Blue Aurora Borealis.
Its remarkable effect is all due to the striking design, which enables the refractive crystals to bathe the space with natural light from sunrise right through to sunset. Keeler explains: “It takes its form from a lattice grid structure, which creates a transparent light massing of a cloud. It’s also based on the structure of crystals, and how water and condensation create atoms that form cloud.”
Two years in the making, it was unveiled in August to a mesmerized public. As one of several sculptures commissioned to enhance the airport experience, it has brought a sense of playfulness and calm—without being bland or boring!—into what can often feel like a hurried, stressful environment.
Next time you’re passing through the San Diego International Airport’s Terminal 2, don’t forget to direct your gaze upwards at Taxonomy of a Cloud and feel the sense of peaceful relaxation wash over you.
Photography by Frank Rogozienski.