Posts in the category "Art":

Tiffany glass exhibit at SFO Airport Museum

Here’s another reason to plan a long layover at San Francisco International Airport: there’s an new exhibit featuring the work of Louis C. Tiffany, courtesy of the SFO Museum.

SFO TIFFANY PEACOCK

Peacock panel c. 1910–15. Tiffany Studios New York. Courtesy SFO Museum

Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933) pioneered new forms of stained glass and his studios created leaded glass windows, lamps and many other items that featured ornamental glass elements.

The SFO Museum exhibit at SFO International Airport includes an exquisite cobweb table lamp, one of only seven known to exist, a one-of-a-kind Zinnia table lamp, a Peacock window panel, oil paintings, glass vases, ceramics and more.

Look for “A Radiant Light: The Artistry of Louis C. Tiffany” pre-security in the International Terminal Main Hall Departures Lobby at San Francisco International Airport through January 23, 2015.

Here are some more items from the show:

SFO TIFFANY BUG

Scarab mosaic stamp box c. 1910 Tiffany Studios. Courtesy SFO Museum

Presented by SFO Museum

Zinnia table lamp c. 1910 Tiffany Studios New York – Courtesy SFO Museum

Visting the unopened Berlin Brandenburg Airport

Visitors on the BER tour can stand on the unused runway.

The highlight of my late June visit to the unopened and much-delayed Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt Airport was racing down a runway as a passenger in a tour bus going more than 60 miles per hour.

It was also one of the saddest parts of the tour.

That’s because due to technical glitches, cost overruns, corruption and project mismanagement, tour buses – not airplanes – are likely the only vehicles that will be barreling down the BER runways for quite some time.

BER Main TERMINAL

Under construction since 2006, Berlin’s much-needed new airport was designed to serve 27 million passengers, with an initial opening target date of late 2011. That date was pushed back to June 3, 2012, and, despite trial runs during which the airport authority did tests of the baggage carousels, check-in desks and security checkpoints, and simulated what it termed “all imaginable scenarios,” a problem with the airport’s fire safety and suppression system was discovered.

With just four weeks’ notice, opening day was called off.

Since then multiple target dates for a new opening day – six or seven, it’s hard to keep count – have come and gone. Now all the company managing the project will say is that “an opening date is expected to be announced at the end of the year.”

BER Airport is waiting to open

2016 has been bandied about as the next possible opening date, but additional problems and embarrassing operational revelations keep cropping up.

In May, there was an announcement of a suspected corruption case involving bribes for the awarding of contracts.

In early June, there was out-of court settlement between the airport management company and airberlin, the major tenant at Berlin’s outdated Tegel Airport, over claims the airline felt it was due because of delays in the switchover. And at the end of June it was revealed that the engineer responsible for designing the new airport’s fire safety system was in fact just a draftsman, not a real engineer, and had been fired.

Despite – perhaps because of – the delays and the unfolding issues, there is a steady stream of people eager to pay 10 euros – about $13.60 – to go on the “BER Experience” bus tour, which is offered four days a week, in German only. (A two-hour bike tour of the airport grounds – about $20, including a box lunch – is offered on weekends as well.)

Besides showing off any progress, one reason the airport authority offers BER tours “is because it’s important that people don’t only read about the airport in the newspaper and see the reports on TV,” said Lars Wagner, Berlin Brandenburg Airport spokesman.

Viewing Tower for visitors at Berlin Brandburg Airport.

Tour buses stop first at a 105-foot-tall observation tower offering a bird’s-eye view of the unopened airport terminal, the unused runways, empty parking lots and assorted other facilities-in-waiting. At the bottom of the tower is an airport information center, with a scale model of the airport and a glass cabinet of souvenirs emblazoned with the BER logo.

BER SOUVENIRS

The staff on duty the day I visited said they don’t sell many of these souvenirs to tourists and they seemed amused when I wanted to purchasing some BER T-shirts, baseball caps, tote bags, inflatable beach balls and plastic lunch boxes.

Our tour bus then drove slowly past quiet office, cargo and airport security facilities and by the railway station, where empty trains run each day to make sure systems remain working. Photo ops of the front of the main terminal building were only offered from inside the bus, but the terminal’s glass façade offered a glimpse of “The Magic Carpet,” by Pae White. The large, red work of art, one of several pieces specially-commissioned for the airport, hovers over the check-in lobby.

Datumsangabe unsicher. EXIF-Daten entfernt.

Out back, the bus pulled up at BER’s one A380-compatible gate, which has a jet bridge draped with Olaf Nicolai’s “Gadget,” a piece of art that looks like a string of giant pop beads and is designed to change colors to match those of the livery of the airplane at the gate.

Gadget, by Olaf Nicolai, is one of the artpieces comissioned for the BER airport.  (1)

Tour goers were allowed off the bus here and invited up a set of not-quite-finished stairs for a look at a gate area where seats were installed, but still wrapped in plastic, and ceiling panels gaped open.

“It’s not unusual for big projects like this to be over budget,” said Johann Bammann, a retired architect whose tour ticket was a gift from a friend. But delays are dragging on too long, he said, and “it’s time for the city to have a new front door.”

After a stop near the control tower, the bus made that dash down the runway, stopping to let passengers out to run around and pose for photos.

“It’s just unbelievable. I can’t understand why it’s taking such a long time to open this airport,” said Barbel Liedtke, a former Berlin-based Pan Am Airlines employee taking the tour with a friend.

“But I’m sure there are a lot people to blame.”

(My story about visiting the unopened Berlin Brandenburg Airport first appeared on USA Today)

Airport art you can’t see at Berlin Brandenburg Airport

There are a lot of reasons to be disappointed about the fact that the Berlin Brandenburg Airport has missed the target opening date by years.

Reason #57: the art.

Although the terminal has some serious infrastructure issues, artwork specially commissioned for the building has been installed.

One of the pieces you can’t see is called “The Magic Carpet,” by Pae White, which hovers over the unused check-in lobby:

Datumsangabe unsicher. EXIF-Daten entfernt.

Another piece, called “Gadgets,” by Olaf Nicolai, looks likes a giant string of pop beads and is strung over the jet bridge for the only A380-compatible gate.

When the airport does finally open (if it opens… ) passengers will notice that the beads are designed to change color to match the livery of the airplane at the gate.

Gadget, by Olaf Nicolaiby, is one of the artpieces comissioned for the BER airport.  (1)

Yarn bombing at PHL Airport

I shouldn’t really use the words “bombing” and “airport” in a sentence, but right now there’s an installation at Philadelphia International Airport created by an artist who practices the gentle graffiti art of yarn bombing: knitting, uninvited, around trees, parking meters, public sculptures and other objects.

PHL Ishknits by Jessie Hemmons, Interventions with Yarn, columns with yarn, Terminal F, ticketed passengers, PHL

As part of an exhibit of her work, Jessie Hemmons, known as ishknits, was commissioned to create colorful cozies for two columns at the PHL airport.

PHL COLUMN

PHL KNIT

Look for the wrapped columns – and the exhibit – in PHL Terminal F through December 2014.

More information about this exhibit and the PHL art program here.

Chill out at San Diego International Airport

When traveling, you sometimes just need a moment – and a place – where you can be quiet, gather your thoughts, reflect and, if that’s your thing, pray.

Impossible at a busy airport?

Not always.

If you look around you’ll find that many airports have small chapels or meditation rooms that will not only fit the bill, but are really lovely spaces.

San Diego International Airport is the latest airport to create a meditation room for travelers and it’s an artist-designed beauty:

Created by Seattle-based artist Norie Sato, The Spirit of Silence is post-security in Terminal 2 and takes inspiration “from the undefinable and changing edge between water and sky, clear and opaque, organic and built.”

SAN MEDITATION ROOM

Photo courtesy San Diego International Airport

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