Flores del Desierto

Submitted by City of El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs

14+

Client: City of El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department

Location: El Paso, TX, United States

Completion date: 2019

Artwork budget: $750,000

Project Team

Client

Museums and Cultural Affairs Department

City of El Paso

Artist

Christopher Weed

Christopher Weed Sculpture Inc.

Client

El Paso International Airport

City of El Paso

Overview

Flores del Desierto is artist Christopher Weed’s interpretation of the beautiful desert sage that blooms throughout the El Paso desert. This project features 11 stainless steel sculptures towering 31’ high, and spanning a distance of 300’ in the medium. Cast acrylic spheres in a vivid translucent purple are incorporated at the top of the sculptures, popping when the passing sun shines on them. Sculptures are illuminated in the evening with light emitting diodes that circulate through the color spectrum in a brilliant fashion. This abstract interpretation of beautiful native desert flora incorporates tactile elements that also speak to flight, acting as a gateway to El Paso international Airport. These easily identifiable sculptures will act as a landmark in El Paso Texas, transcending time.

Goals

Flores del Desierto is part of the City of El Paso's project to enhance the transportation corridor leading to and from the El Paso International Airport. The corridor to and from the El Paso International Airport is one of the most traveled roadways in the El Paso. Because this is the first and last impression many people of the City, enhancing this corridor has been a priority.

Process

The El Paso International Airport has become a valuable partner in the City's Public Art Program. When MCAD and the Airport were asked to install additional artwork along the corridor leading to the airport, they saw an opportunity to install a monumental piece that would create a strong impact on visitors to El Paso. The artist applied design and fabrication techniques used in aviation to create an artistic interpretation of the surrounding flora, the rigid wing-like forms portray the fragility of sage blooming in the desertscape. The use of translucent materials combined with integrated lighting and the El Paso sun result in ever-changing combinations, allowing the artwork to react to its environment. Every of the 11 pieces in the sequence is rotated in increments of 10 degrees; giving the viewer a sense that the pieces are revolving as they drive past them.