Client: City of Miami, Art in Public Places
Location: Miami, FL, United States
Completion date: 2023
Artwork budget: $100,000
Falon Land Studio
Eleazar Guadalupe Ruiz
Seagrass is inspired by the extraordinary ecology of underwater seagrasses growing in the shallow waters of Miami’s Biscayne Bay. The supersized sculptural forms are based on the endemic Johnson’s Seagrass (Halophila johnsonii), the smallest of Biscayne Bay’s seagrass species. Measuring at a height of only 2 inches in the wild, Johnson’s Seagrass helps purify the water and is a food source for many animals including manatees, urchins, and sea turtles. The sculptures are pigmented and polished terrazzo stone monoliths made from recycled glass, marine shells, and crushed limestone. Each sculpture is unique in its curvy form, color, and composition of glass and rocks. The curved face of each sculpture catches the sunlight at varying angles depending on the time of day and creates curving shadow lines on the surface.
Seagrass is sited within the landscape of the new Shenandoah Park Aquatic Facility, which features an Olympic sized swimming pool for the neighborhood of Shenandoah.
Sited within the planting bed at the entry to Shenandoah Park’s Aquatics facility, Seagrass reminds us of the wondrous aquatic ecology that makes Miami special. Seagrass is a public artwork commissioned by the City of Miami through the Art in Public Places initiative.
The fabrication process for Seagrass was an innovation in cast stone monolith with a terrazzo aggregate. The artist worked closely with the fabrication team to develop a custom mix of recycled glass and integral color concrete. Each sculpture was cast using an upside down vertical fiberglass mold with a wood "jacket" frame. We built a special scaffolding and support system in the shop in order to fabricate each piece. We worked with a structural engineer to develop a shop welded interior metal structure that prevents cracking and withstands Hurricane force winds. Additionally, the sandy soils in Miami required a unique type of spread concrete footing with an engineered structural steel base plate for each of the nine sculptures.