MetroGnome public art project installed at San Diego Airport
Published - 12/08/15 - 06:32 PM | 25815 views | 1 1 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MetroGnome is a public art project featuring two, 54-foot-high kinetic sculptural forms adjacent to the new Rental Car Center at the San Diego International Airport. / Photo by Thomas Melville
MetroGnome is a public art project featuring two, 54-foot-high kinetic sculptural forms adjacent to the new Rental Car Center at the San Diego International Airport. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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As a prelude to the opening of its $316 million Rental Car Center in January, San Diego International Airport Dec. 8 unveiled MetroGnome, a public art project featuring two, 54-foot-high kinetic sculptural forms adjacent to the new building.

Created by German-born, Los Angeles-based artist Christian Moeller, the artwork is located within one of the facilities’ exterior bioswale areas.

At a press conference, Lauren Lockhart, airport art program manager, said the sculptures were created specifically for that site.

“We hired the artist based on their past qualifications and experience,” Lochhart said. “We formed an ad hoc panel of art and design professionals who looked through a competitive pool of submissions from across the country.”

Moeller was chosen as the most qualified and worked with the larger architecture and design team to identify this location and to create a site-specific piece, Lockhart said.

Concerning his muse, Moeller said he was thinking about this unique site where the Rental Car Center is, noting it's a hub of transportation modes near the I-5 and Pacific Highway, San Diego Bay and the airfield.

“He (Moeller) wanted something that reflected that constant coming and going and movement of travelers at this site and that's why the art pieces are kinetic – like a metronome keeping time,” Lockhart said. “But then it's also a little bit playful because there's a G added into the spelling of that, which is a reference to his childhood in Germany where there's a tradition that dates back to the 19th century where people put a garden gnome in their front yard. MetroGnome's sort of an elegant abstract hybrid of a garden gnome and metronome.”

The beauty of the sculpture, said Lockhart, is that “you can read a lot of different associations into it. I've heard a lot of different interpretations of it.”

The MetroGnome is controlled with electro-magnets in its interior.

The sculpute is going to continue to be tested, but it will be ready in January for the grand-opening of the building, noted Lockhart.

There is also another major art piece in the works, “Dazzle,” by artist group Ueberall International, LLC, which is to adorn the outside of the new rental car facility.

Ueberall International, a leading experiential design firm, and E Ink, an innovator of electronic ink technology, have joined to produce Dazzle, a ground-breaking project at the airport that will combine art, media and state-of-the-art technology.

Ueberall was selected to do the exterior art work on the northeast side of the new, four-story airport rental car center.

“Their cutting-edge technology will animate the entire façade of the building in a camouflage dazzle pattern,” said Lockhart, noting the special paper used produces the optical illusion of movement.

“This dynamic façade animation is an innovative technology that has never been used on this scale,” Lockhart said, adding the dazzle pattern to be created will be comprised of 2,200 e-paper panels laid out in a pattern across the entire façade.

“The pattern itself will be black-and-white and fully programmable and changeable,” she said, adding it can be altered to change the perceived “speed” of the dazzle to make it more — or less — pronounced.

“In the evening it will be enhanced with lighting,” said Lockhart, pointing out the artwork is also sustainable in that it is partially powered by solar cells used in its 2,200 panels.

“Dazzle is slated for completion after the car rental facility opens,” said airport spokesperson Rebecca Bloomfied. “Completion is now expected in late 2016. The (art) project is currently in the design and development phase.”
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Catherine Miller
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July 30, 2017
I watched the panels being installed. I wish there was more of an explanation available in the local media about its concept and artistic fi=unction. I live up on the hill across from the rental car center and I've not been able to discern rhythm, theme or timing of the art piece.
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