Leading Lights

Submitted by Catherine Widgery

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Client: Golden Triangle LLC

Location: Washington, DC, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $480,000

Project Team

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Nick Geurts

yetiweurks, ltd.

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Jan Peters

Peters Studio

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John Grant

Public Art Services

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Z-Prop Concrete & Masonry

Artist

Catherine Widgery

Overview

Leading Lights is a colonnade of 34 dichroic glass and steel columns, lining both sides of the 21st block of K Street in Washington DC's Golden Triangle District. The columns are luminous jewels of transparent color, always changing. The dichroic glass surfaces reflect the surroundings through a veil of color. When sunlight strikes the glass surface, brilliant colored bands are projected onto the ground, so the artwork engages a much broader area beyond its' physical boundaries. From some angles they almost disappear before our position or the light shifts and they reemerge as beacons.

Goals

It is this ghostly, ‘there-not-there’ quality that speaks of the sophistication and elegance of the Golden Triangle area of Washington DC. As we emerge from the underpass below, these columns embrace us as we rise up through the gateway. Visible from all the surrounding buildings and from all viewpoints, they create a cohesive place in what before was an ill-defined, non place.

The Golden Triangle symbol expresses the open possibilities of this dynamic area, so we transformed this contemporary vision applying it to columns to bring color, light and animation to the site. The concept for LEADING LIGHTS was inspired by the visual language of of grand boulevards of rhythmic repeated verticals whether lines of trees along streets or architectural columns on facades of buildings that are found in this district and around the greater DC area. We re-imagined that traditional vocabulary in contemporary materials and form.

Process

Our team of fabricators, Public Art Services and the Peters Studio, worked closely with our engineer, design team, local installers and representatives from Golden Triangle LLC, the Capital Commission, DC Arts Commission and the Department of Transportation on this project which was particularly challenging given the safety restrictions, sight lines as well as the very narrow foot print available to us.

Additional Information

Our team of fabricators, Public Art Services and the Peters Studio, worked closely with our engineer, design team, local installers and representatives from Golden Triangle LLC, the Capital Commission, DC Arts Commission and the Department of Transportation on this project which was particularly challenging given the safety restrictions, sight lines as well as the very narrow foot print available to us.