Client: Microsoft Corporation
Location: Redmond, WA, United States
Completion date: 2018
Artwork budget: $88,000
R P Art, Inc.
Chief Art Curator
Admin and Digital Editor
R P Art, Inc.
Photographer for Microsoft
The Lumiere Group - Microsoft
Ulrich was inspired by the main Microsoft Campus property’s old sawmill. He was approached by the chief curator of the Microsoft Art Collection to design a sculpture, visible day or night, for one of the main meeting areas on the expansive campus. His 3-piece installation evokes both the cutting edges of saw blades as well as the organic shapes of native grasses of the area. The title alludes to Microsoft’s continuing excellence in computer software. The sculpture’s internal LEDs change color, providing a lively illumination at night.
The designated site for the sculpture, on top of a huge boulder, was at the top of steep stairs overlooking an indoor-outdoor eating area. There is a covered walkway leading up to the site. The goals for integrating this sculpture included high visibility day and night, human-sized artwork, a link to the surrounding area's history and creating a work that could not be easily climbed on. All of these criteria were successfully taken into account for the final design.
The curator of the Microsoft Art Collection led the team who chose and oversaw the process to create Cutting Edges. Ulrich's design, picked from a field of noted sculptors, stood out for its use of space, lighting and evocation of the history of the site including a sawmill. Each step along the way Ulrich communicated with various appropriate team members as to installation details, how the LED lights would be powered and controlled, perspectives from the buildings surrounding the sculpture, how the artwork interacted with the outdoor meeting/eating area situated below the piece and art copyright requested by Microsoft.
Constant communication between the MIcrosoft art team was critical to the success of this project. The curator of the Microsoft Art Collection presented three installation sites to me and other artists they were considering. Each site had its advantages and disadvantages. After a lively discussion involving the team and the other artist, I chose to propose a three-component sculpture for the site up above the commons and eating area. Once my design was chosen, we all collaborated on exactly how the sculptures could be installed, their dimensions, how much lighting they would need and whether or not the site required it. The grace and lyrical quality of the final design proved this collaboration very successful.