“Phyllotaxis”

Submitted by Joni Younkins-Herzog

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Client: Athens Public Art and Athens Cultural Affairs Council

Location: Athens, GA, United States

Completion date: 2021

Artwork budget: $25,000

Project Team

Joni Younkins-Herzog

SPLOST Athens Transportation and Public Art

Overview

“Phyllotaxis” is a roundabout sculpture at the juncture between Athens and Watkinsville, GA. The title refers to Nature’s tendency to grow leaves in Fibonacci like spirals to best capture sunlight.The materials are Corten steel, mild steel, stainless steel and epoxy paint and the dimensions are 15 ft x 12 ft x 6.5 ft

Goals

Goal was to create a signature gateway piece celebrating the location. The Warnell School of Forestry, the Athens Botanical Garden and the Historic Whitehall Lofts are important boundaries and destinations for this roundabout. The fern face references the placement at the end of Milledge Ave. which when rotated becomes more like a spiralling watermill. The spiral itself points to and becomes an abstracted water turbine that was located down the hill and powered the textile mill that was built in the 1800s.

Process

I used CAD design to create the 15 ft tall form which was waterjet cut locally and fabricated in my studio in Athens, GA. The forms was carefully designed to be tall, light and strong, maximizing the drops for cross braces. I rolled the pipe spirals out of 2 inch Schedule 40 to complement and support the silhouette fern shape. The piece has interest and intent in all positions and was carefully placed to reference the history of the interests nearby.