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apple park's mirage sculpture takes shape as iridescent glass pillars winding through trees

zeller & moye and katie paterson unveil mirage at apple park

 

Located in the olive grove adjacent to the Visitor’s Center at Apple Park in California, Mirage is an outdoor sculpture created by artist Katie Paterson and architectural studio Zeller & Moye. The artwork, featured in yesterday’s Apple Keynote presentation, comprises over four hundred glass columns weaving through and amongst the trees. To create these cylindrical pillars, the team collected sand from deserts across the Earth in partnership with UNESCO, geologists, and international communities. At its essence, Mirage is a global artwork celebrating each of the lands from which it is created and the people who nurture, conserve, and sustain these lands. ‘Sand, so ubiquitous across Earth, is a marker of time. Mirage creates an experience of being enveloped by Earth’s sublime spaces. […] Our hope is that Mirage creates a sensory experience that will ignite the imagination, connect visitors to the vastness of the Earth and its precious wilderness,’ says Katie Paterson.

apple park's mirage sculpture takes shape as iridescent glass pillars winding through trees
images © Iwan Baan and © Hunter Kerhart, courtesy Zeller & Moye

 

 

turning desert sand into a meditative & sinuous glass structure

 

Mirage at Apple Park (see more here) has been cast in whole single glass cylinders – each two meters high — by expert glass makers, with guidance from material scientists. Unique glass recipes were formulated for each desert, resulting in pillars with subtle variations of color and texture. Together with their collaborators, Paterson (see more here) and the Zeller & Moye team devised innovative methods of working with glass at this scale, combined with techniques from the origins of glass making. Mirage ultimately boasts a strong material presence, connecting to the elements and reflecting the environment. In daylight, the sculpture varies in iridescence, and in the evening, it gently glows. The experience of watching the light fall through becomes a form of meditation, giving the impression of time standing still. Visitors can interact with the artwork, walking alongside and through, where the glass subtly melts into the landscape, like a desert mirage.

apple park's mirage sculpture takes shape as iridescent glass pillars winding through trees
Mirage at Apple Park by Zeller & Moye and Katie Paterson

 

 

Architect Christoph Zeller elaborates on the studio’s intervention with Katie Paterson and explains how the sculpture becomes one with its natural surroundings: ‘The glass bars are arranged as a series of curved walls that meander through the grid of olive trees defining semi-enclosed space similar to an interior garden. The spatial composition activates the existing park landscape by creating an unexpected social and contemplative gathering place for visitors and staff to relax, to lay down on the grass, to have a picnic or to play.’

apple park's mirage sculpture takes shape as iridescent glass pillars winding through trees
the public sculpture is made of sand collected from deserts across the world

 

 

a global collaboration: from unesco to tu delft

 

The artwork was created over many years with the collaboration of hundreds of people worldwide. Dr. Telesilla Bristogianni and Dr. Faidra Oikonomopoulou, glass experts at Delft University of Technology, analyzed desert sands from all over the world to predict the composition and coloration of each glass column. They worked with the artists to create custom glass recipes. Jim Myers at East Bay Batch and Color mixed the material, and the team at John Lewis Glass (Oakland, California) built hundreds of columns of cast glass made from 70 desert sands.

 

Eckersley O’Callaghan engineered Mirage, while Apple commissioned Artsource Consulting to conduct a global search for artists and guide the project to completion. Lastly, a group of artists led the sand collection, which was supported by hundreds of people worldwide in partnership with UNESCO‘s International Geoscience and Geoparks program.

apple park's mirage sculpture takes shape as iridescent glass pillars winding through trees
hundreds of glass pillars weaving through the trees

apple park's mirage sculpture takes shape as iridescent glass pillars winding through trees
the artwork boasts a meditative, iridescent aesthetic

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apple park's mirage sculpture takes shape as iridescent glass pillars winding through trees
pillars were crafted jointly with glass artisans and material scientists

apple park's mirage sculpture takes shape as iridescent glass pillars winding through trees
Mirage combines two-meter high pillars melting into the landscape

apple park's mirage sculpture takes shape as iridescent glass pillars winding through trees
Zeller & Moye and Paterson partnered with UNESCO to collect the sand samples

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