Public Spaces That Inspire: 10 Compelling Art Pieces That Transform Spaces

Walkways, parks and bridges are areas in public spaces that are plenty and commonplace. You would usually walk through one without a second glance. However, in this article, we will highlight new media artists that transform these public spaces with eye-catching installations giving them an iconic status. These places are picture perfect and become “must-sees”.

1. Her Secret Is Patience, Janet Echelman

This public space installation in Phoenix, Arizona is almost cloudlike; its shape-changing with perspective. Installed in 2009, the steel sculpture is an aerial assembly that lights up in the nighttime. Drawing inspiration from colours of the seasons, the illumination of the piece itself changes through time. The installation changes to warmer tones in chillier months and cooler shades in the summer. This suspended artistic composition creates an atmosphere of public space comfort. The installation creates an environment for people to gather; adding dimensions of colour and space to a wide public area.

2. Accumulation, Yang Minha

Placed at the gate of Le Méridien in Seoul, South Korea, this installation looks like an other-worldly gateway. There is almost a liquid-like quality to this simulation of light and colour. The illusion of passage is given by quadrilateral metal frames rotated differently. According to the artist, there are 6 patterns- rise, flow, accumulation, dimension, light, and overlap which simulates a feeling of galactic or transcendental travel. While forming an immersive experience, it also provides utility by creating a walkway towards the gate of the hotel.

3. Kalpavriksha- The Wish Fulfilling Tree, Vibhor Sogani

A steel sculpture located in Gujarat, India, this installation adds creativity and light (literally!) to a public space. Kalpavriksha, a sacred tree of Vedic origin, is considered to be divine and benevolent. Placed as a centerpiece on public paths, this installation lends an aura of peace to its surrounding. A cascading steel sculpture in natural light, this installation turns into a soft yellow tree in the dark. With its flowing yellow beads, it gives off the same serene quality of a willow tree after dusk.

4. Caterpillar’s Longing, Poetic Kinetics

This art installation was installed at Coachella 2015, in Indio, California. It consists of two, vivid large structures, ‘the caterpillar’ and ‘the butterfly’. Together, the installation represents growth and transformation and the beauty of everyday processes. 

The installation spans 34 feet in height and displays rich rainbow hues in the butterfly’s wings. Coupled with the prismatic display of the butterfly is the caterpillar, which shines less in comparison but shows the first step of evolution, necessary to the message of the art installation. The installation is meant for wide public space and is excellent for enriching the atmosphere of a music and arts festival.

5. Archetipo, Edoardo Tresoldi

This unique installation couples art and architecture, creating a semblance to archaic European structure. Combining elements of traditional pillars, inverted domes and spheres, this installation experience in Dubai creates an ambience of classical architecture. The installation combines textural elements of the construction as well as flower and vine arrangements by giving itself an X-ray like look. This installation, which looks like a blueprint of classical and contemporary fusion is perfect for planned events, gatherings and soirees. 

6. The Floating Piers, Christo and Jeanne-Claude

Designed for Lake Iseo, Italy, this construction is more than an installation. Creating roads that look like they’re out of a magical city, the construction lends artistic meaning to building connections. Bright orange fabric supported by docked floating cubes, this artwork gives literal meaning to walking on water. Joining two separate lake shores, the path connects the tiny island of San Paolo which becomes the centrepiece of the work to the eye. Completely surrounded by the orange textile path, the island gains a halo of orange. Floating Piers is another piece of environmental art that is representative of Christo’s body of work.

7. Building Bridges, Lorenzo Quinn

For Venice Art Bienalle, 2019 Lorenzo Quinn displayed this public installation that served a purpose in art commentary. 6 sets of hands holding each other in various configurations create an archway, lending meaning to its name, ‘Building Bridges’. Venice was chosen to be the place for this display as it has a history of being a meeting point for cultures and communities. The six pairs stand for the ideals of wisdom, hope, love, help, faith and friendship which the artist believes to be the pillars (or hands, in this case) of peace and unity. This bold structure creates a unique mark for the event it commemorates. It lends meaning to the event and artistic intention itself, through its social commentary.

8. Projection Mapping on Sydney Opera House, Obscura Digital

Projection mapping is a common new media art technique, especially familiar to the Sydney Opera House. Combining light, art and sound, Obscura projected images of Japanese symbolism, mechanical designs and patterns of vivid butterfly wings that flowed from one to the next. This flow synced with the live music of the event created an immersive artistic experience for the viewers of the live event. Projection Mapping is a contemporary form of art powered by tech to connect light, sound and art to create captivating experiences; this example of Obscura Digital is an eye-catching example.

9. Cloud Gate, Anish Kapoor

Mostly everyone knows about Cloud Gate, which is often referred to as the Chicago Bean.  A convex structure in nature, Cloud Gate is a public space installation that is almost like a curved, continuous mirror. Set in Chicago’s Millenium Park, the installation has become a public and media icon making various appearances in pop culture as well. A quick time lapse tells you the ingenuity of its composition. As light and surroundings change, so do the reflections of the Bean. This smart use of material and composition makes Cloud Gate an iconic public space installation. It combines elements of interactive art through mirror-like projections and creates a great installation of a wide space area, perfect for a park.

10. FRAMED, D’Trove India

Finally, we’ve decided to include our own work. D’Trove’s FRAMED is an immersive experience designed with each step taking you to a unique angle of frame, creating a moment of wonder, joy and curiosity. The MIA Association in Jodhpur, India wanted to bring something new as part of their annual state-supported festival. The theme of the festival being technology, our concept of art, entertainment and lighting fit in perfectly. With a footfall of over 1 lakh people in a duration of 10 days, FRAMED became a hotspot for the festival. Inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot, our goal was to create an experience that would transport the visitor to another world.

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