A permanent structure commissioned by the Overton Park Conservancy in Memphis, Tennessee, the archway serves as an entry portal to the virgin forest at the center of the park and references a range of natural patterns, including the annular rings of the old growth trees. The 24 foot-tall sculpture is fabricated from 1/4 inch plate steel. Over 800 individual pieces were hand-cut and welded to compose the structure, which was erected in one piece. A finish coat of paint was applied in 11 subtle hues of grey-brown, mimicking the tones of the surrounding tree barks.
The primary goal of this public project was to transform the site into a gateway, welcoming visitors to the Overton Park old growth forest. A short, unused road previously joined a small parking lot to the network of pedestrian trails that meander through the woods - the only entrance on the eastern side of the park. The entire road was replaced with an artist-designed concrete trail, scaled for bike and pedestrian traffic, which naturally guides visitors onto the trail system. Arching over the trail is a 24 foot-tall steel sculpture, both a symbolic and a literal portal, marking the end of an urban bike trail, and evoking the forms of the forest beyond.
While the sculpture itself was design, fabricated, and installed by the artist and his team, the transformation of the site itself involved an in-depth collaboration with the Overton Park Conservancy public art committee. The details of the surrounding landscape and pathway design required careful negotiation in order to prohibit motor vehicle traffic while remaining as welcoming as possible to pedestrians and bikers.
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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.