Sky Portal

Submitted by Randy Walker

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Client: City of Albuquerque Public Art

Location: Albuquerque, NM, United States

Completion date: 2014

Artwork budget: $140,000

Project Team

Artist

Randy Walker

Walker Design Studio LLC

Industry Resource

Gregg Way

Heads Up Landscape Contractors

Client

Anderson Abruzzo International Balloon Museum

Matthew Carter

Industry Resource

Todd Pelman

ManufactoryCo

Industry Resource

Hans Early-Nelson

Primitive Precision

Overview

70' diameter x 25' height. Concrete, stone, custom steel poles, acrylic fiber. lPermanent outdoor installation for the Anderson Abruzzo International Balloon Museum, Albuquerque, NM. The installation consists of a dyed concrete compass rose bounded by 24 custom steel light poles. A mirror-polished stainless steel cylinder is suspended by cables above a central seating area. The top of the cylinder is woven with colored architectural fiber.

Goals

Inspired by the historic forms associated with lighter-than-air craft, the large-scale installation is intended to mirror the dramatic sky, landscape, and hundreds of colorful hot air balloons that launch at the site at the Balloon Fiesta, the largest event of its kind in the world. Designed as a large compass rose, the sculpture is experienced from a balloon as a navigational aide. From the ground, an small seating area creates an intimate space evocative of a balloon's gondola.

Process

In a design process that evolved for nearly four years, the artist worked closely with The City of Albuquerque Public Art program, Balloon Museum Staff, a local landscaping firm, and various fabricators in Minnesota and New Mexico to carefully calibrate issues from concept to site planning to installation.

Additional Information

The sculpture is intended to enter into a visual and spatial dialogue with the light, mountains, and hot air balloons that hover in the sky. Through minimal yet strategic landscape interventions, the installation relies on the existing landscape for its overall effectiveness.