Client: Canopy by Hilton
Location: Tempe, AZ, United States
Completion date: 2020
John Randall Nelson
R.J. Ruff and Co.
Allen & Philp Architects
An immersive Public Artwork depicting the shifting views of a desert trail, the geologic shapes connect with the dusky glow of the surrounding desert. Here a contemporary trailhead carves out a space for travelers to explore, rest, look around and engage with the multi-layered history of Tempe.
The goal of the project was to create public artworks for the exterior and interior of Canopy Hotel, in downtown Tempe. The forged steel Grackles, Geckos, and Quail represent the area's desert wildlife and inspire a sense of curiosity and imagination.
The stones were quarried in central Arizona. The striped rock is Black Canyon Onyx, a stone variegated with unique hues of desert blush, ridges of amber and veins of jade green. The solid, un-variegated stones are either Blue or Green Schist.
All were quarried along Big Bug Creek in Mayer, an old ranching town 85 miles northeast of Tempe. It takes about 1 million years to create 12” of the Onyx. Each layer reflects the sediment left when water flowed in and out of the area.