Solarise: Prismatic | Garfield Park Conservatory

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Solarise: A Sea of All Colors, 2015

Garfield Park Conservatory is lauded as one of the great architectural masterpieces in Chicago. Completed in 1907 by the famed landscaped architect Jens Jenson this revolutionary building opened as the largest conservatory in the world. The glass structure contains distinct gardens connected by a series of contiguous pathways runnning throughout the space. Majestic gardens present both contemporary and prehistoric plants in this vibrant environment. In 2011, a storm caused significant damaged to the glass building and the plants within the conservatory.

As part of an effort to raise awareness and draw public attention to the conservatory and rehabilitation efforts, Luftwerk was commissioned to create a series of year-long installations throughout the conservatory. Solarise: A Sea of All Colors contained five distinct installations; each in a different garden, developed with a distinct point of view to frame, highlight, and interpret important elements of the garden.


Developed as both an installation and performance, Prismatic was an abstract interpretation of the geometry within desert plants. This series of five rotated and extended triangular acrylic frames appeared to hover above the cacti in the garden. In the day, the interaction of the sunlight shining through the glass roof with acrylic spokes refracted and cast unique light shapes throughout the garden. In the evening, Prismatic was illuminated by pin-spot LED lighting, casting rainbows across the conservatory’s Desert House. An original music composition by Owen Clayton Condon used cacti from the conservatory’s collection and accompanied the suspended sculpture.

Architectural Record
CS Modern Interiors
New Media Caucus—College Art Association
Condé Nast Traveler
Architect Magazine
The Architect’s Newspaper
Time Out Chicago
Chicago Reader | People Issue 2015
The Art Assignment | PBS Digital Studio


Garfield Park Conservatory
Navillus Woodworks
Owen Clayton Condon
John Faier, Peter Tsai
Chicago Park District

Materials: Equilateral prism rods, aluminum