Composed of vertical elements that respond to both natural and artificial light and shadow, Forest of Light provides the opportunity to travel through the environment as one would walk through a grove of trees.
Varying in height and diameter, the vertical elements include 57 powder coated reflective steel poles and 23 LED lighted acrylic tubes, which together allow for a continually changing experience depending on the time of day and atmospheric conditions. The installation spans 1,500 square feet, situated within a 55,000 square foot garden.
Forest of Light was designed to create a welcoming and engaging aesthetic experience for visitors – including patients and their families, students, and employees – to the rooftop garden at UT Southwestern Medical Center’s newest clinical building. Moreover, the installation is visible from numerous locations on UTSW’s sprawling campus and thus also serves as a wayfinding device for the building.
In order to attract people to the garden, it was completely redesigned to include seating and meandering pathways that lead to Forest of Light, the garden’s central feature. Plantings were selected to frame and soften the transition to the art installation, and garden lighting was modified to avoid conflicting with the piece.
Together, the garden and Forest of Light reflect UTSW’s acknowledgement of and commitment to art and nature as tools that contribute to wellness. And given the flexibility of LED, an additional benefit of the artwork is its open ended function of providing the opportunity for visiting technical artists to develop and display their unique lighting programs in the forest installation.
Forest of Light and its site were developed over a period of 18 months through close collaboration between the artists, the building’s architect, landscape architects, engineers, contractor, art fabricators and installers, and UTSW’s art curator and building project manager. Everyone involved was committed to the project and rallied to overcome all roadblocks to completion. UTSW’s leadership, including the EVP for Business Affairs and the President, were actively involved and supportive as well.
Landscape architects from HDR redesigned the garden to feature the installation and helped provide solutions to the site’s challenges. Engineers from Walter P. Moore who designed the building were contracted by the artists to design the artwork’s foundation and technical details of the poles.
With every detail considered and planned, installation by Unified Fine Arts was seamless and took less than two weeks. The result is an activated space that invites engagement and wonder.
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CODA: Collaboration of Design + Art
The global online community that celebrates design projects featuring commissioned artworks.
[ manifesto ]
Art matters. Attention to the details of our environment leads to love of place, which brings us to take responsibility for the spaces where we live and work. And by extension, the people with whom we live and work. And by extension, to our local communities, our cities, our nations, and our world.
We champion the role of artists in our society. We need artists to provide us with inspiration, creativity, and imagination, and to help us envision a better world.
Architects and designers know that remarkable design can change everything. They connect the dots across disciplines, collaborating with artists to make the world a more beautiful place. They are the ultimate patrons of the arts.
In the process, design professionals promote imagination and creativity, and through their commissions, make original art integral to and accessible in people's lives.
Art in our public and private spaces helps us fight ordinary buildings, ordinary streets, ordinary cities. We celebrate the extraordinary.
The architecture of our buildings and the design of our interiors affect our happiness and well-being. Each of us deserves a daily dose of inspiration.