Photo: AJ Epstein

Photos: Eduard Hueber / Arch Photo

DREAMING IN COLOR

LOCATION: Marion O. McCaw Hall, Seattle, Washington, U.S.

CLIENT: The City of Seattle, Seattle Center 

TEAM: LMN Architects, GGN, Ron Fogel Associates

General Design Award of Excellence from American Society of Landscape Architects

Lumen Award from the Illuminating Engineering Society

Dreaming in Color, a three-dimensional color field was commissioned by two public art agencies and the Seattle Center. The artwork at the Seattle Center is constructed of nine large-scale metal-mesh scrims framing the Kreielsheimer Promenade at the Marion O. McCaw Hall Theater. The passageway is 450- feet long. The rectangular scrims stand 30-feet vertically and range from 40 to 70 feet wide.  

 

Geometrically extending the theater lobby outward -- and echoed by the hardscape patterning below-- the progression of scrims simultaneously defines and echoes the architecture of what was once a negligible interstitial space. Each mesh plane is dynamically illuminated including the ground plane. Dreaming in Color further transforms the landscape at night-- intensifying the welcome that awaits Seattle Center visitors.

 

Perspective viewing of the accumulated, illuminated surfaces magnifies the potential for

animated color mixing as the scrims are virtually transparent. Through calculated aiming angles an orchestrated set of "melodies for the eyes" are heightened by horizontal bands of secondary shades that feather into the wider fields of color.

Dreaming in Color seeks to build upon and extend the Color Field explorations begun by painters in the 1950’s and continuing up until present day. Chromatic abstraction defined the work of Color Field pioneers including Mark Rothko, Kenneth Noland, Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, and Jules Olitski – all of whom flooded large canvases with pure pigments varied in saturation and contrast. These early Color Field artists were interested in creating “atmospheres” in which color was the subject, and when viewed close-up, became environments in and of themselves.

 

The vision that drove Dreaming in Color from its conception to its actualization was offering a theatrical experience to all Seattle Center and McCaw Hall visitors, whether ticket holders or not, transporting the building’s meaning from inside to outside for all to experience.

 

In 2018, the lighting fixtures were upgraded to LED and new dynamic sequences were designed by Schwendinger. Additionally, professional designers are currently also invited to experiment with the color field installation.