Twenty two large 18'x15' concrete columns support the Highway 99 overpass which spans across a beautiful part of Bidwell Park in Northern California. They're visible from many angles and vantage points, including three roads and a couple bike paths. The intent was to bring natural colors and tree forms from the surrounding hardwood forest and camouflage the grey linear intrusion of the bridge infrastructure.
Tagging and vandalism had become an ongoing problem in the dark areas under the freeway overpass, intimidating kids, joggers, cyclists and other park users. My proposal was to create easily maintainable oak and sycamore tree patterns to bring the life and light of surrounding nature into the area. Many small images of native wildlife scattered throughout the project became educational surprises for future naturalists.
California's highway department, Caltrans, through their Transportation Art Program, signed the encroachment permit authorizing the project which was funded by the City of Chico Park Department. The Bidwell Park and Playground Commission and Art Commission reviewed the project and approved the concept. Local graffiti artists offered their insights on spontaneous roller applied artwork and techniques. Arborists and local Audubon friends suggested ideas for trees, birds and wildlife.
This project took several months to complete but was well received with the local press and neighbors. It was even respected by graffiti artists for years afterwards. The freeway has since been expanded and new columns added under the bridge. Hopefully more trees can be added someday soon.
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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.