Client: Newark Liberty International Airport
Location: Newark, NJ, United States
Completion date: 2022
Talley Fisher Studio, LLC
Munich: Newark Liberty International Terminal A
Airwaves is a playful tribute to the waterways of New Jersey, welcoming passengers to the new Terminal A of Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, NJ. It resides in a collection of commissioned works including sculptures, paintings, and murals by local and regional artists for the new terminal, that embody the spirit of Newark and New Jersey as a whole. Composed of brilliant powder coated aluminum waves, the sculpture adorns the pedestrian bridge linking the parking structure to the Terminal. A 70ft long by 9ft wide section ripples overhead at the west entrance, while a 55ft long by 9ft section is found at the east end. Each section is approximately 4ft high and is suspended by a series of horizontal and vertical cables.
With the construction of the 575 ft long pedestrian bridge came a desire for a suspended sculpture to visually break up the bridge span, aid in wayfinding, and memorably welcome passengers to New Jersey and the new Terminal A.
Inspired by the varied landscapes of New Jersey, the suspended sculpture is comprised of meandering waves, paying homage to the state’s expansive coastline and numerous waterways. The two sections of sculpture can be seen as “bookends” of the pedestrian bridge, much like the Delaware River and Atlantic Ocean are to the state. The bright colors shine in the abundant natural light, and moiré patterns are created when two perforated elements overlap, giving the illusion of movement. The "waves" were intentionally rendered in the abstract, encouraging dialogue and leaving the final interpretation up to the viewer.
Careful consideration was also made to integrating the sculpture into the architecture of the space. The exposed support beams influenced the decision to use steel suspension hardware, keeping the engineering of the sculpture visible like the structural elements of the bridge.
From conception to installation, this project could not have been accomplished without effective communication and coordinated efforts from all team members. Munich Airport International, a subsidiary of Munich Airport, manages the terminal's operations and worked closely with the artist as a liaison between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and DNA, who completed the engineering. The sculpture could not be suspended from the ceiling, creating unique challenges to tackle from an engineering and artistic perspective. The solution was to span the width of the bridge with a series of tensioned, horizontal cables. This not only allowed composition adjustments on site, but also allows for the cables to be removed and lowered if access to the ceiling is needed.
Creating a permanent sculpture for one of the biggest transportation hubs on the east coast required adhering to strict safety and security regulations. Torsilieri coordinated the site work, with installation occurring in a series of phases that allowed for a seamless integration into the construction timeline of the pedestrian bridge.