Arrive early for your flight and see these cutting-edge works popping up in major airports.Forget staid paintings, unmoving murals or rigid sculptures; the hot trend in contemporary airport design involves artists, architects and designers melding cutting-edge technologies with artistic vision to create dynamic interactive environments. These new works aim to amuse, soothe and change your airport experience for the better. Here are a few of the best interactive and integrated works you can check out while traveling.
Denver International Airport: Cameron McNall and Damon Seeley of Los ?Angeles–based Electroland plan to debut ?“Relax” in Denver next month. Spanning the length of A Gates, five windowless bays will spring to life with interactive displays referencing themes related to airports and travel using walls of tempered glass, backlit photographs, floor-to-ceiling mirrors and embedded LED lights. The motion of visitors walking past or pausing at each work triggers a response; stroll past a photo of a tropical beach and the water undulates, or experience infinite space via lights and mirrors. The fifth bay, opposite flight-information monitors, features backlit photographs of clouds and sky that morph from cool blue to warm dusk as the words arrival and departure alternate. www.electroland.net
Miami ?International Airport: Located within the ?passenger walkway connecting the airport and the new MIA Mover automated transit system, this large-scale installation by artist, architect and composer Christopher Janney features a 72-foot-long window wall with diamond-shaped panes of glass that range in color from deep reds to bright violets. Layers of melodic, South Florida–inspired sounds reverberate from 14 speakers through the corridor as visitors traverse the space, combining recordings of tropical birds, distant thunderstorms and crickets with marimbas, bamboo flutes, percussive instruments and more in ever-changing patterns that rarely sound the same. www.janneysound.com
“Active Ecosystem (SMF)”
Sacramento International Airport: This work aims to bring nature’s rhythm inside Sacramento’s new ticketing hall in Terminal B. A collaboration between artists Camille Utterback and animator Michelle Higa, the installation consists of 14 LCD screens mounted across the glass surface of a three-story elevator shaft. Animations of leaves, seeds, fish, water and other natural elements respond to visitors pressing the call button. The scenes and elements change according to the time of day and season, and the color palette shifts from dawn to noon to dusk, further mimicking the outside environment. www.camilleutterback.com
Indianapolis International Airport: This electronic light-and-sound environment lies within the passageway between the airport’s main terminal and its parking garage. Also a brainchild of L.A.-based Electroland, the playful installation employs colored circular ceiling lights and ambient sounds that respond to movement, as when overhead dots light up and track visitors traveling the length of the bridge. When pedestrians align or pass each other, a line of connecting dots shoots down the space, creating a visual link of momentary connections among strangers. At pre-programmed intervals, the entire space erupts in a 10-second-long burst of sound and color. www.electroland.net
San Diego International Airport: Imagine 33,000 blue lights, each one and a half inches in diameter, suspended individually from the ceiling to create an undulated plane. “Blue Path,” the newest LED light installation by San Francisco–based contemporary artist Jim Campbell, is scheduled to debut in San Diego in April 2013. An MIT graduate with degrees in electrical engineering and mathematics, Campbell is designing a 6-foot-wide, 600-foot-long segmented light ribbon to guide passengers from the security area into the gate area in Terminal 2. This ribbon of light will seem to float 11 to 28 feet overhead — an airy apparition you can see right through. www.jimcampbell.tv