Client: Unified Government of Athens Clarke County
Location: Athens, GA, United States
Completion date: 2013
Ron Kurtz RBLD (Randy Burkett Lighting Design)
Color Associates ( LED programmer)
Lawrence Fabric & Metal (consulting welding & team installation)
Public Art Agent
Athens Cultural Affairs Committee
Cherie Sampson / Video/ Sound Editor
The Design Loft Company + Maureen
The site-sculpture Nest, installed over the entry/exit stairs at the Classic Center was commissioned by the Athens County Cultural Commission to create a visual excitement in the expansive atrium. This building is part of a larger expansion of the Classic Center that supports a diverse performing and visual arts menu as well as a gathering place for corporate events, organizations and community activity.
The goals presented to the artist by committee, owners and architect were to create a work that would engage and draw the people to the space with a reference to history of place while looking to the future, be site specific to the architecture and have consideration to the landscape. Lighting was a required element to the work. With its installation the commissioning committee looked to Nest to help increase the economic impact to the City of Athens; a city that draws both national and international visitors.
The concept for Nest began with the history of place. Athens was once the center of textile milling in the country commonly referred to as “the Manchester of the South”. With this history it was a natural to work with plain weave, woven stainless. Woven stainless employs the same basic process as the milling of cotton and is a material that is continually evolving with new uses and products.
Working with stainless woven cloth allows subtle and dynamic light patterns that are continually changing the surface of the elements. During the morning hours the sun creates light patterns that move through the curving elements. By afternoon programmed LED lights in cool white to warm white create subtle light changes to the surface; by night the work turns dramatic
The sculpture exists in a space where it can be seen from 1st and 2nd floor vantage points and three exterior views. Never intending to block the sky and hills, Nest is set before a large window space and has the ability to change from a site specific sculpture of stainless steel elements and subtly transform itself into sheer passing clouds.
This was the first large public project commissioned by the Athens Cultural Commission. With focus and flexibility the artist, cultural commissioning committee, architect and owners would all agree that Nest surpassed all expectations. It has created an energy and excitement to a public gathering space.