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AIRPORT DESIGN Last modified on November 14, 2018

The art show

From digital displays, giant sculptures and famous paintings to weird and wonderful exhibitions, Joe Bates reviews some of the most innovative new airport art offerings of 2018.

Sydney’s cultural experience

Sydney Airport has unveiled a striking work of contemporary art by Kamilaroi artist, Archie Moore, which the gateway hopes will “contribute to a strengthened cultural experience for departing visitors and leave an enduring positive impression”.

Moore’s United Neytions artwork consists of 28 large flags that hang dramatically from the 17-metre high ceiling of Sydney Airport’s T1 International Marketplace and are said to speak of the incredible diversity of aboriginal culture.

Sydney Airport CEO, Geoff Culbert, says: “We’re committed to celebrating the very best of local and Australian talent and showcasing our city and nation’s rich and wonderful stories.

“We’re very much focused on continually finding new ways to ensure both local and international travellers enjoy a dynamic and unique experience whenever they visit Sydney Airport.”

The memorable, multi-coloured work was chosen for display as part of a landmark partnership between the airport and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA).

Moore, who is recognised as a leading contemporary Australian artist, says: “The opportunity has allowed this series of flags that celebrate issues of place and identity to adopt a scale and status that official international flags have.

“[These flags] draw attention to the histories, voices and presence of local indigenous people on whose traditional lands the airport lies, but also the passages of cultures, pasts, territories, ages and cultural knowledges that airports foster.”


Audio visual artwork in Charlotte

Charlotte Douglas International Airport’s newly expanded Concourse A is now home to several huge new ‘data sculptures’ by digital artist, Refik Anadol.

Dubbed ‘Interconnected’, the digital artwork is comprised three NanoLumens supplied hi-definition LED media walls, measuring over 2,000 square feet, that display constantly changing dynamic abstract visualisations derived from airport operations data (flight arrivals and departures, baggage handling and ground transportation).

The centrepiece of the project, which is being described as one of the largest data sculpture visualisations in the world, is a 2.5mm NanoLumens ENGAGE Series LED display that is 140-feet long and 10-feet wide.

“The largest display runs down a big part of the new Concourse A which has windows lining the other side so it can also be seen by people driving past as well as walking up to the airport from the outside,” enthuse Marcus Mitchell, programme director for the Arts & Science Council, which organised the project for the airport.

“The fact that the displays provide such a high definition image viewed up close, as well as the brightness to be seen outside by people in cars whizzing by, provided us with the greatest possible impact.”

Anadol says: “The artwork being displayed is constantly changing and evolving as it responds to the ever-changing flow of data, creating a living snapshot of the invisible patterns that surrounds us as we travel to, from, and within Charlotte Douglas International Airport.”


Giant sculptures in Doha

Airport artwork doesn’t get much bigger than at Doha’s Hamad International Airport, which now boasts another giant sculpture to sit alongside its larger than life teddy bear.

The latest addition, SMALL LIE by American artist KAWS, towers above the ground and is a gift from the Qatar Museum as part of its commitment to making art available to all beyond the confines of a gallery.

Airport CEO, Badr Mohammed Al Meer, enthuses: “HIA’s space for public art is truly redefining the passenger experience. It is a monumental art piece. Our operations team had to dismantle the airport façade at concourse D to handle the crates and we worked on the technical installation for several weeks.”

Artworks on show at HIA comprise a mix of site-specific creations and pieces which have been carefully selected for the airport, something the Qatar gateway feels “transforms the transportation hub into a large-scale gallery filled with breathtaking pieces of art”.

These include the iconic Lamp Bear by Swiss artist Urs Fischer, Oryx statues by Dutch artist Tom Claassen, and the Playground by American sculptor Tom Otterness.

Al Meer adds: “The airport is thriving and is committed to giving transit travellers a memorable journey through arts and culture.”

Munch artwork on display in Oslo Airport

Original works of art from Norway’s most famous artist, Edvard Munch, will be on display at Oslo Airport for the next decade after operator, Avinor, persuaded the Munch Museum to temporarily share some of its masterpieces.

A specially designed display case has been installed in the new international pier to allow passengers to enjoy his work.

Airport director, Øyvind Hasaas, says: “We are very proud to be able to show travellers from all over the world one of Norway’s greatest artists.

“We have many travellers who either have Oslo as their destination or who are just passing through, and now they will have the opportunity to see works by one of Norway’s finest, namely Edvard Munch.”

The first work on display is the painting ‘Head by Head’ (1905) and it is accompanied by the stone used for the lithograph Separation (1896), in the case. Once a year, the artwork will be replaced with a new one.

“The contract with Oslo Airport gives us a completely new and exciting arena for the Munch Museum,” says Stein Olav Henrichsen, director of the Munch Museum. “Thousands of people pass through this part of the terminal every day, and this will give us a unique opportunity to introduce Edvard Munch to a new audience.”

Miami’s glass exhibition

‘Contemporary Glass: From Sand to Art, a diverse exhibition of glass objects created by contemporary artists is now on display at Miami International Airport.

“Our airport serves as a prominent backdrop for the exchange of thoughts, people and cultures from around the world,” says Miami-Dade aviation director and CEO, Lester Sola.

“Contemporary Glass: From Sand to Art, which is also a melting pot of people and cultures from around the globe in its own right, is just one example of how art imitates life – or vice versa – at Miami International Airport.”

Located near Gate D29, the new exhibition has been curated by Linda Boone and features works by renowned glass artists Latchezar Boyadjiev, Marek Brincko, Dale Chihuly, Keke Cribbs, Dan Dailey, Bohumil Elias, Jon Kuhn, John Lewis, John Miller, Shelley Muzylowski Allen, Joel Philip Myers, Robert Palusky and Toots Zynsky.

“In our ongoing effort to provide our passengers with unique art collections, we are proud to feature MIA’s first all-glass exhibition,” enthuses Gendry Sherer, MIA’s fine arts and cultural affairs director.

“We’ve also been able to assemble an impressive combination of works by many of the top names in the medium.”

All in a name

A collaboration of impressive illustrations to celebrate the history of well-known Irish surnames is now on display at the South Gates boarding area at Dublin Airport.

This unique exhibition, which is called ‘All in a name’, showcases seven real-life people and describes some of the history associated with their popular surnames dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries.

The myths and legends linked to the O’Donnell’s of Donegal, the Byrne’s of Dublin, the O’Carroll’s in Tipperary, the Kelly’s in Galway, the McCarthy’s in Kerry, Burke’s of Mayo and Murphy’s in Wexford are presented on these beautiful canvases.

“It is estimated that up to 80 million people around the world have Irish surnames, however, the myths and legends associated with them are not always known,” enthuses Dublin Airport’s managing director, Vincent Harrison.

“This exhibition at the South Gates provides passengers with a unique opportunity to experience another dimension to our rich history and create a lasting impression of Ireland for departing passengers.”

The exhibition is one of seven installations throughout both terminals which form part of Dublin Airport’s Sense of Place Visual Environment Project.


Abstract art at LAX

Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), in partnership with the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), has introduced a new art exhibition at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) that features works by multi-media artist Martin Durazo.

Durazo was born and raised in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles and his ‘Points of Entry’ exhibition in the Terminal 1 Arrivals area features 19 abstract paintings influenced by the physical and cultural landscape of Southern California.

“We are excited to feature Martin Durazo’s artwork at LAX because, as an LA native, he has a unique understanding of what makes Los Angeles stand out from other cities,” said LAX’s art program director, Sarah Cifarelli.

“Durazo’s energetic paintings create a memorable atmosphere for both locals and international visitors alike.”

According to LAX, Durazo’s brightly coloured works draw upon the vibrant sounds, sights and subcultures of Los Angeles, creating a lively welcome for guests. His abstract paintings are suggestive of the topographies passengers might see as they fly over Southern California, or landmarks drivers might spot while traversing the Los Angeles basin.

It notes: “The blue-green paint is reminiscent of the Pacific Ocean, just minutes away from the airport, while the neon colours evoke the dazzling lights of Hollywood club culture. Durazo’s paintings merge intense, vivid emotions and polished aesthetics, reflecting the intersection of high and low cultures that coexist in Los Angeles.”

The artist himself comments: “I hope my work inspires LAX guests to discover different corners of Los Angeles. No matter how many times one visits or returns to LA, there is always something new to see and learn about this diverse city.”

The exhibition’s location means that it is accessible to the general public as well as passengers and will be around until the spring of 2019.

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