Chroma Booster sits at the focal point of the new pedestrian plaza between the Convention and Performing Arts Centers and the baseball stadium. It continues the tradition dating back to the Ancient Greeks of having a fountain as the pivotal feature of public spaces such as town squares and parks. Like many fountains, "Chroma Booster" is both visual and functional. The 55-foot tall painted steel sculpture, which includes mist, water, and light, celebrates the controlled chaos of the industrial infrastructure that both surrounds the site and dots the Texas landscape. (con't below)
The mist, which invites people to be engulfed in its cool, moist air, is in a constant state of flux, sensitive to the slightest changes in wind, temperature, and humidity. Spacing between the pipes allows viewers to stand inside the structure as if they are in the midst of a forest with towering trees. Simultaneously mysterious, unexpected, and playful, “Chroma Booster” transforms its site into an ever-changing, otherworldly environment. User-controlled push-button valves at the base of the sculpture operate a foot-wash, and three overhead showerheads allow visitors to douse themselves with a refreshing, albeit very brief, shower. At night, lights illuminate the stainless steel collars and the wafting clouds of mist.
Matthew Geller’s public artworks set out to engage the public and foster a sense of community. His works are spirited, accessible—and very often unexpected. By using disparate elements (including everything from swings to showers to wind) in surprising and interactive ways, he aims to encourage engagement with the work and among viewers themselves.
Metalab provided design development and fabrication documentation services for the vertical structure. As construction managers they coordinated with the fabrication contractor and integration of programmable LED lighting and high-pressure mist systems into the tower prior to its installation. Additionally Metalab coordinated with the landscape architects (SWA Los Angeles) and site work contractors for in-ground infrastructural components and oversaw the installation procedure.
Lance Gandy (Gandy Lighting Design) designed the lighting system and Clint Allen (New Aspect Design) programmed the lighting show.
For the past dozen years, Geller has often worked with a visual vocabulary that doesn’t immediately telegraph its status as art. He likes to use eyesores as his starting point: sites and vernaculars that have been marginalized in some form. He takes these abject artifacts, everything from a felled tree on the grounds of a museum, to an exposed water utility pipe system, and retrofits them to create ready-made public squares. He has imagined “Chroma Booster” as perhaps a vestige from a former railroad water tower, a relic from an old industrial plant, or El Paso’s underground pipes run amiss.
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