Client: City of El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department
Location: El Paso, TX, United States
Completion date: 2019
Artwork budget: $750,000
Museums and Cultural Affairs Department
City of El Paso
Christopher Weed Sculpture Inc.
El Paso International Airport
City of El Paso
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.
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.
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.