Corolla

Submitted by Stephen Galloway

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Client: Alameda County Arts Commission

Location: Oakland, CA, United States

Completion date: 2019

Artwork budget: $35,000

Project Team

Artist

Stephen Galloway

Overview

Commissioned by the Alameda County Arts Commission for the rooftop patio of the Information Technology Department Headquarters in Oakland, CA. Corolla can refer to a garland or, in botany, the inner rings of leaves of a plant. The central ideas to Corolla are that of the circle, of nature, of beauty, of protection. The murals are of leaf canopies, emphasizing how light passes through and onto the round leaves. All compositions are scaled to 5’ tall with varying widths and made from high pressure laminate for the four inner niches of the northeast and northwest walls of the rooftop.

Goals

The goal of this project is to create a sense of intimacy within a large space and large canvas. The site is part of our civic holdings, but needs to address the experience of a small group of people. The viewer is situated as if they are looking through the canopy to an open, atmospheric space beyond. The effect is to both give a sense of refuge and afford the opportunity to let the mind wander, inspired by nature. Although Corolla doesn’t literally encircle the rooftop patio, it provides a protective membrane between the viewers and the rest of the urban world.

Process

Corolla is the result of a public RFQ process. Once a selected finalist, the artist met with stakeholders and staff of the public agency to learn about their aspirations for the site. The artist worked with the local arts commission to determine suitability of materials and process, and then joined with KVO Industries to produce the panels. The custom steel framing used for the installation was a product of the County's General Services organization.

Additional Information

Not long after opening, the new IT Department Headquarters received a Best of California "Most Innovative IT Workforce Initiative" award. The Alameda County Director of IT argued that the sites design, including the rooftop space transformed by Corolla, represented an innovation in the way IT Departments preformed their services.