Client: San Diego International Airport
Location: San Diego, CA, United States
Artwork budget: $600,000
San Diego International Airport
San Diego Air and Space Museum
San Diego Museum of Man
Stratasys Direct Manufacturing
Mark Reigelman’s Formation punctuates the façade of San Diego International Airport’s parking structure with vibrant colors and energetic patterns. As travelers exit the terminal they are greeted by massive graphic tapestries on the adjacent garage. Upon closer inspection, travelers find that each of the three screens that comprise the work are composed of hundreds of individually-cast resin airplanes strung onto stainless steel aircraft cables. Formation is uniquely site-specific, in that it weaves together the histories of aeronautical innovation in the region through the specific aircraft represented with the fiber arts traditions of indigenous peoples of the American Southwest.
The site conditions of this artwork required that the artist consider intuitive wayfinding as a central goal. The memorable color choice and patterning of the work as well as its scale and visibility from both the terminal and adjacent roadways aids travelers in recalling the location of their vehicle, particularly upon their return to the structure. Beyond this more functional role, the work fulfills San Diego International Airport’s commitment to commissioning artwork that is reflective of the region. It celebrates the commitment to innovation in the aviation industry in San Diego and by featuring the Spirit of St. Louis as one of the plane models, it specifically marks San Diego International Airport’s origins as Lindbergh Field.
This project required a close collaboration between the artist, airport staff from the Arts Program and Design & Construction department, the Joint Venture constructing the larger project, and numerous stakeholders from throughout the airport. The artist also consulted local cultural and historical institutions for assistance with context to inform the artwork design. Reigelman worked with the San Diego Air and Space Museum in researching local aeronautic history to select aircrafts relevant to San Diego and with the San Diego Museum of Man researching Southwest weaving traditions and graphics. From there aircraft technical drawings were used to build the planes using three-dimensional modeling programs and 3D printed, full-size prototypes before creating master molds of which nearly 700 resin aircraft were cast. The objects were painted with high performance acrylic urethane paint before being strung onto stainless steel cable to create three 15’x30’ tapestries.