Client: Canopy by Hilton
Location: Tempe, AZ, United States
Completion date: 2020
Artwork budget: $185,000
John Randall Nelson
R.J. Ruff and Co.
Allen & Philp Architects
On the exterior and under the Canopy, four cairns mark the beginning of a trailhead.
Forged steel Grackles, Geckos and Quail represent the area’s desert wildlife and inspire a sense of curiosity and imagination.
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 cairn’s 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 cowboy town about 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.