Client: Denver Arts and Venues
Location: Denver, CO, United States
Completion date: 2014
Artwork budget: $400,000
Denver Arts and Venues
An artwork by Haddad|Drugan for the children’s entry at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is inspired by the museum’s exhibits about light, optics, minerals, and molecular structures. The initial concept for the art was to create a piece that creates magical rainbows for children to chase. The suspended sculpture is made of hundreds of tetrahedral acrylic prisms in a web of mirrored stainless steel rods. As the sun shines on the prisms they change in a dynamic play of iridescent refracted light and spectrums. The sculpture sparkles to the vantage of a person walking beneath it and varies with different times of day, year, and cloud cover. The sculpture is perceptually engaging, creating an embodied aesthetic experience.
The entry plaza over which the sculpture is suspended abuts Denver's City Park. The plaza is also over an underground room housing museum collections. The goal for the project was to create an iconic placemaking artwork to mark the new entry, which would be visible from surrounding park areas. In addition, the sculpture could not include any foundations over the sensitive underground structure. Therefore, three columns were strategically placed just outside the edge of the underground structure, positioning the sculpture over seating steps that link the museum to the park.
Haddad|Drugan spent the first part of the project working with Museum staff to understand the museum's collections and goals and functions of the new entry plaza. Once a concept was determined, the artists spent months researching appropriate materials to create the sculpture's prisms, making samples out of a variety of options. Once the appropriate acrylic was found, the artists worked with a testing agency who put a mock-up of the sculpture make-up through weathering tests to ensure it would last for decades without cracking or yellowing. The final sculpture was fabricated and installed in Denver by Demiurge Design.