Botanicals

Submitted by Andy Dufford

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Client: 1. Phoenix Arts Commission 2. City of Broomfield 3. Ft. Collins AIPP 4. The Greenway Foundation

Location: Phoenix, AZ, United States

Project Team

design, fabricate and install public art

Andy Dufford

Chevo Studios, Inc.

collaborate in developing art concept

Phoenix Arts Commission

Overview

Four separate projects featuring plant forms native to the artwork site:
1. Agave: 3 seats sculpted from Silverdale limestone, are shaped like leaves of a beautiful desert succulent. 18’x 15’x 8’h. Phoenix, AZ. 2003. $77K
2. Waterline: A relief mural, celebrating life at the waterline of a nearby wetland, transforms the concrete walls of a pedestrian underpass. It was created using a cost-efficient method I developed for creating custom formliners for poured concrete. 400’x 13’h. Broomfield, CO. 2007. $100K
3. In Praise of the Poudre. Four sinuous columns, with integrated lighting, evoke a flowing river. Each is carved with images of plants and animals native to the nearby Cache la Poudre River. Heights range from 8′-15′. Carnelian granite, aluminum, LEDs. Ft. Collins, CO. $246K. 2020.
4. Cottonwood Leaf: This leaf, along with sculptures of a duck and fish, “float” on a paving surface that resembles rippling water. African green granite and bronze. 9’x 4′ x 2.5’h. Confluence Park, Denver, CO. 2004. Leaf: $35K. Entire project: $564K

Goals

1. Agave was commissioned to provide a signature artwork for a new park. Inspired by an iconic desert plant, the piece strengthens the park's identity and provides a unique seating area, with each seat oriented toward a specific vista of the surrounding mountains and desert.
2. Waterline beautifies the otherwise purely functional retaining wall of a new pedestrian underpass. By depicting flora and fauna of an adjacent wetland, the mural also reminds people of a vibrant natural community thriving within a bustling urban domain.
3. In Praise of the Poudre was commissioned for a pedestrian plaza in an upgraded commercial district, to celebrate a major river that flows through Ft. Collins, supplying much of the city’s water. Beautiful forms and surface carving, along with unique lighting, capture attention both day and night.
4. Cottonwood Leaf is one of several elements for a plaza I created at the confluence of two rivers in downtown Denver, commissioned as a part of an ongoing effort to restore riparian habitat and develop greenways throughout the metropolitan area. With interactive sculptures of native species, the plaza supports the larger project goals by encouraging people to enjoy and learn about local waterways and their ecology.

Process

1. Agave - I worked with the design team during the earliest phases of park design to identify this “sweet spot” on a highpoint of the site, providing excellent views in all directions.
2. Waterline was a collaboration with the landscape architect and engineers creating the new underpass. Together we identified a very site-specific theme for the relief mural. I also worked closely with the construction contractor to coordinate the installation of my custom formliners prior to the concrete pour, and insure careful removal afterward.
3. In Praise of the Poudre was a collaboration between my studio and city staff to develop a theme for the art that would activate a pedestrian space and support appreciation of the natural resources on which the city depends.
4. Cottonwood Leaf and Confluence Plaza. I developed the narrative of this sculptural play and rest area in close collaboration with the organization spearheading a major restoration of rivers and creeks in the Denver metropolitan area.