Equilibrium

Submitted by Casto Solano

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Project

Client: City of Vitoria-Gasteiz

Location: Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain

Completion date: 2019

Artwork budget: $150,000

Project Team

Client

Casto Solano

Vitoria-Gasteiz

Overview

“Equilibrium”, pays homage to the unique wetlands and green belts that surround and pervade the artist's home city of Vitoria-Gasteiz. Installed in the city’s newly reformed Santa Barbara Plaza over decking and shimmering water-pads, the artwork comprises a bed of entwined river grasses, sculpted in stainless steel stalks and leaves that rise six meters into the air. Between them live a community of birds and animals, sculpted in glowing bronze. A heron, a frog, a crayfish … waiting to be discovered by those who come to relax, amble and play in the plaza’s gardens.

Goals

The artwork’s location is at the center of a newly reformed public plaza, placed in shallow water feature, comprising a series of raised wooden boardwalks between which water flows, as well as several fountains. The artwork for the plaza therefore needed to fill several requirements. Particularly, as a figurehead for a principal municipal public space, it needed to encapsulate and represent the values of the city. It also needed to be welcoming and accessible in a way that provides interest to children and adults alike. It needed to be appropriate for it’s setting and the surrounding water; both aesthetically and materially. Moreover, it needed to be low maintenance and capable of withstanding the corrosion and wear inherent to a permanent exterior placement in the center of a city, and safe for public interaction.

Process

The concept of a bed of glowing lotic reeds, inhabited by a life-size heron and other autochthonous creatures was met with enthusiasm from the commissioning local authority. Once commissioned, Casto collaborated intensively with the plaza’s architects and engineers to ensure that the artwork would be perfectly tailored to the installation space. Installation procedures were detailed early into the process, and anchoring systems were pre-installed into both the artwork and the groundwork to ensure an efficient and effective installation. The artwork is made from marine-grade bronze and steel, ensuring ease of maintenance and the highest possible resistance to corrosion. The open footprint of the sculpture ensures that those who use the splash-pad will be able to walk between the reeds and enter into a living biosphere. It will provide an irresistible draw to the young, and will become a destination in its own right for residents and visitors alike.