Seattle is full of inspiration. We invited artists from across the country to visit the city and create something new based off their experiences.
Jimenez Lai, an architect, professor, and graphic novelist living in Los Angeles, is a man on the move. He founded the Bureau Spectacular architecture and art studio after working around the world — and after taking a gap year to live in a shipping container to work with Atelier Van Lieshout in Rotterdam. So when asked to design a structure based on his travels to Seattle, he jumped at the opportunity. "Every time you enter a place that's foreign to you — when you hear a different language, when you encounter different colors, different sounds, different urban fabric, different texture — something happens," he says. "It forces you to heighten your awareness of current surroundings. It also forces you to rethink what you are in life, what your home is to you."
Naturally, this architect was ready to take a deep dive into Seattle’s many different attractions and landmarks. "I believe in the statement, ‘If you set the stage, the players will play their parts,’" he says. "In other words, architecture has the power to induce character development. Architecture changes people, it makes people feel certain ways."
See the inspiration Lai found in Seattle for his architectural structure.
Chihuly Garden and Glass
Local artist Dale Chihuly was one of the first to use glass in avant-garde art, and has created installations in every corner of the world. The Chihuly Garden and Glass is the crown jewel of his career: a 40-foot tall glasshouse, galleries, and sculpture park with hundreds of his sculptures and installations.
"To me, the only possible meaning to life is pleasure. The senses that you receive, whether it's a scent or a visual pleasure, an audio pleasure — when something is enticing and stimulating, my attention perks back up and suddenly there is meaning to life. I'm interested in the way light plays into a space, the way sound plays into a space, or even smell — it all triggers memories of a place."
"We're going fishing out in the water in Puget Sound. It's a place where you can look back and see the city, even see the mountains beyond."
"I think there's something really beautiful about this city, because the buildings are a lot like these capsules, these ships, that take you on these journeys."
"The Washington Park Arboretum is a place of refuge for citizens to escape the ravages, the wears and tears of urban life. The everyday stress that you may need to take a break from."
"I’m making my installation out of wood, and because of my trip to Seattle, I've decided to leave it blank. When I say leave it blank, it's a funny statement because I usually paint stuff white, which in French means "blank". This time, I've decided the meaning of the word blank is naked. I want to keep that pureness and nakedness of the wood."
"We're headed to the Olympic Sculpture Park, designed by Manfredi Weiss. This is also an example of a way of thinking about landscape architecture and architecture, and even the design of parks in an urban context. It's really exciting to see the masterpieces that would be littered all over this park."
"Seattle Public Library is one of the most important buildings that has influenced me. It allowed me to understand what it means to design social interaction, to condense parts and to distribute whole. I think Seattle Public Library has had an immense influence on not just me, but many many architects of my generation."
"When I die and go to heaven, I would like Seattle Public Library to be one of my destinations. Today, I guess I'm dying."
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