TAXONOMY OF A CLOUD — SAN DIEGO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

As a way to add more texture and depth to the interior of the San Diego International Airport, artists from around the world were offered the opportunity to propose permanent and temporary art installations to be displayed throughout the airport.  One of the artists chosen was Canadian artist Stuart Keeler, who was selected to create a permanent installation in the Green Build Terminal 2.  Keeler conceptualized a rainstorm surrounded by the linear formation of lattice clouds.

sketch
sketch

An early concept model that Orion used to draw inspiration for Keeler’s concept, showing the rainstorm/clouds in the form of a massing study made of legos.

sketch

How do you create a large scale art installation that resembles a rainstorm, without the use of water, and still have it look realistic? – That was the question the Orion team had to answer from the start of the project.  With Keeler’s guidance and direction, to stay true to his vision, Orion engineered the rainstorm with nothing other than strands of Swarovski crystal and aluminum tubing to create this massive structure that would hang above the heads of travelers in the middle of the terminal’s food court.

Orion CAD engineering

A drawing of the crystal rainstorm coming together from a distance (left) and a view from underneath – looking up.

San Diego Airport
San Diego Airport

Crystal strands are hung from the canopy during the installation.

San Diego Airport installation

A view from within the crystal.

In the end, Orion created a canopy that held 261 strands of approximately 35,000 Swarovski crystals.  The crystals were a mix of blues that Keeler chose based on the blues found in a San Diego sky.  The abstract formation of lattice clouds, commonly found in warm coastal climates, take the shape of a lattice grid structure.  The entire piece spans a total distance of 65’Lx45’W and is 27’ in height.  The structure gracefully hangs 17’ above the food court below.

San Diego Airport
San Diego Airport
Photo: Frank Rogozienski
San Diego Airport
Photo: Frank Rogozienski
Taxonomy of a Cloud
Photo: Frank Rogozienski
San Diego Airport
Photo: Frank Rogozienski