Location: Confidential, WI, United States
Completion date: 2024
Metal fabrication and installation
Ashley Akison & Michael Peterman
Skyhive is a suspended ceiling artwork created to welcome staff and patients into a medical research and treatment facility that specializes in novel and innovative medicines and therapies.
The artwork hangs from a 55-foot ceiling in a light-filled atrium. It is visible from multiple floors with several vantage points throughout the building. Skyhive was designed to have different visual experiences depending on the time of day or where a viewer is standing within the structure.
Organic forms merge with precise geometry, enveloping the viewer in a seemingly weightless dome of translucent sculptures as they pass below. When one’s perspective changes from the first to the second floor, the artwork appears almost see-through as the individual sculptures lie horizontal with the viewer’s sight line. Here, one can get a close-up look at the details of the textile and resin sculptures and get a top down view of the artwork within the architectural framework.
Skyhive also incorporates resin sculptures embedded with phosphorescent powders. When the lights dim, the artwork glows with chemiluminescence that transforms the installation into a completely different kind of visual experience for patients undergoing therapy, visitors, and staff.
The client was looking for a centerpiece that would add to the healing environment of their new facility. The goal was to create a tranquil artwork that would have multiple visual experiences for both staff and patients as well as to compliment the architectural space.
Bringing Skyhive to life was a delight from beginning to end. The clients I had the privilege of working with were trusting of my artistic vision and incredibly accommodating and collaborative during all phases of the project. Metal fabricator and installation expert Atom Pechman and I have worked together for years. Atom collaborates with me and my clients to build and design the structures my installations hang from. Not only are they functional, but they are works of art in themselves. The installation process is an essential component of my pieces and adds to the energy and personality of the final artwork. An incredible amount of preparation happened before the installation of Skyhive so that it was a smooth and enjoyable experience, even while swaying on a 50-foot scissor lift!
The images on the textile sculptures are photographs of the resin sculptures that were then digitally printed on feather voilé and suspended in die cut PETG hoops. Although the wires that the sculpture lines hang from are almost invisible, they are each made of 49 strands of stainless steel, braided together and coated in silicone for an incredibly strong but delicate material.