Location: Carouge, Switzerland
Completion date: 2019
Artwork budget: $135,000
Alya Stürenburg Rossi
City of Carouge - Department of Cultural Affairs and Communication
Les Artisans de l’Arbre Sàrl
Over 350 flowers illuminated Market Square in Carouge, a municipality in Geneva, Switzerland from November 2019 though January 2020. The alabaster metal blossoms in various sizes adorned the allé leading to the 18th century Catholic church of Sainte Croix. During the day, the petals appear to be delicate, as if they were carefully cut and fashioned out of paper. Once the sun sets, “Blossoms” comes alive with gradients of colors as if the light itself painted them to illuminate Market Square and engage visitors in new and unexpected ways.
The winter season in Switzerland is very cold with snow and ice for days on end. The City of Carouge’s Department of Cultural Affairs engaged Pitaya to create an environment that would not only be welcoming to visitors during the harsh winter months but would become a celebratory beacon for the bustling Market Square. Pitaya and the client agreed in the early stages of development that the artwork should utilize the deciduous trees lining the Square to maintain the foot traffic and allow space for vendors to continue their business. A strong visual identity was also crucial to the client as they wanted to boldly capture the attention of residents and visitors alike. “Blossoms” not only became a hopeful symbol of Spring during the harsh winter months, but the glowing, colorful floral forms illuminated the square in engaging and playful ways, delighting patrons to Market Square.
Pitaya not only closely collaborated with the Department of Cultural Affairs to determine the most appropriate site within Market Square, but to collectively decide what symbols would become the most meaningful and engaging to visitors, vendors and inhabitants. With the knowledge of their audience, the Department of Cultural Affairs guided Pitaya during their design development process and together they decided on the use of blossoms as a symbol of hope and new life in the Spring months to come. Pitaya collaborated closely with city horticulturists to determine an installation method that would respect the trees and not cause harm to their branches. Each of the over 350 blossoms were installed by skilled “tree climbers,” only cutting branches carefully and correctly as needed. The entire process from conception to execution was collaborative in nature, and “Blossom” was both gratifying and successful for the City of Carouge, Pitaya and the audiences at Market Square.