Client: Nicholls State University
Location: Thibodaux, LA, United States
Completion date: 2021
Artwork budget: $70,000
Computer design and renderings, fabrication files
David Olsen Computer Services
Electrical Engineer, design and fabrication of electronics, specifications of lighting, computer programming of lights
Herb Garden pays homage to Louisiana’s culinary heritage, highlighting in heroic proportions spices and herbs that contribute to the rich, unique, culinary heritage of Louisiana. This contemporary sculpture contains a variety of abstracted elements of herbs and spices: Dill flowers, Sassafras leaves, Okra and Chili pepper pods and Parsley that are grouped in a monumental herbal bouquet.
This 20′ tall by (at the top) 20′ wide by 20′ deep monumental new media stainless steel sculpture contains more than 6000 LEDs, plus four LED spotlights. At night our signature lighting effects -realized with thousands of LEDs, electronics, motion sensors and our custom software – create beautiful, soft washes of changing colors of light that illuminate the different sculptural components, both on their outer surfaces and from within the different elements. This custom lighting creates a fascinating, entrancing, colorful tableaux drawing people to the dining experience available in Ruth’s Bistro immediately adjacent to Herb Garden. The sculpture’s presence dominates the night directly outside the Bistro’s north windows, providing a heightened dining experience for all within, and in particular those diners seated at those most desirable seats near the north windows.
1) to reinforce the uniqueness of Louisiana cuisine to visitors to the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute; (2) to contribute to the overall dining experience for diners at Ruth’s Bistro; (3) to entrance diners at Ruth’s Bistro to such an extent that they are drawn to return periodically to sit and dine while being immersed in the colorful light show; and (4)to draw passersby attention on East 1st Street to the Culinary Institute and Ruth’s Bistro.
I (Fairfield) was the lead artist who conceived the piece, made the initial design, and then managed the process of fabrication, installation and delivery to Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, LA. Olsen took my design and drawings and generated 3D computer renderings, scale fabrication drawings, and fabrication machine files for generating the parts that I welded together to create the piece. Hall took my initial lighting concepts and imagery and designed the electronics to achieve those ends.
The sculpture had to be designed and architecturally certified to withstand category 5 Hurricane strength.