Client: Zoo Miami
Location: Miami, FL, United States
Completion date: 2016
Artwork budget: $1,100,000
Joe Meppelink, Andrew Vrana
Miami-Dade Art in Public Places
Cypress Landing, a new children’s play area at Zoo Miami, includes the 32’ tall misting and water-showering Cypress tree, Cypress knees, a 150’ mural (by Diana Kingsley), and the concession stand, playgrounds, landscaping, and design of the entire 10,000 sq. ft. children’s play area. Three of the knees have push buttons that each operate two water nozzles in the tree such that water streams down through the mist. Three other knees each have a push button and two water nozzles. The mist is in a constant state of flux, sensitive to the slightest changes in wind, temperature, and humidity, and can lower the air temperate by as much as 30°F.
32’ x 100’ x 100’ (variable)
Powder-coated stainless steel, mist, water, paint, wood, landscaping
The Zoo wanted a new children's play area with a water feature.
Geller’s process always begins with stakeholder and community engagement which could include learning about the area's history, gaining insight into the community’s vision for the site, and brainstorming about what would enrich and bring together their diverse community
Metalab provided project management, design development, and fabrication oversite services.
The Zoo expansion project architects, AECOM, designed and the site contractor installed the flatwork and below-grade utilities based on plans provided by the artist.
In his public art practice, Matthew Geller’s participatory sculptures become one of the building blocks that make a space a destination. As such, the work activates the site and promotes interaction among visitors, often creating intimate moments in a singularly public space. Part of his work’s success is that it is physically experiential: viewers understand that there is a place for themselves in it. His sculptures enable moments of respite and delight, befitting the site's functional and visual context. He purposefully uses materials from the everyday environment creating a level of connection to the familiar while highlighting elements of awe and beguilement. The idea is to surprise while fostering the sense of an inclusive community around an unlikely object or location, creating a micro public square or landmark. By considering behavioral design and incorporating dynamic elements activated by people and changes in the weather, the resulting work is in constant flux. Ultimately, the artwork’s goal will be to engender a sense of wonder, enhancing the community and visitor experience.