CUPERTINO – A new public art sculpture made of sand from 58 of the world’s deserts will transform the look of an olive grove outside the Apple Campus Visitor Center by summer 2022.
Named “Mirage” by Scottish artist Katie Paterson and German architectural firm Zeller & Moye, the sculpture will consist of 400 pure cast glass columns made of desert sand and formed into three clear wave-shaped walls imitating a desert dune.
Apple officials have said the sculpture is a multi-million dollar project involving a team of dozens of artists, architects, geologists and desert experts, all with the goal of creating an outdoor public space. in the huge corporate headquarters in Cupertino.
“Our goal is to bring together all of the deserts on earth,” Paterson said. “Visitors will be able to walk from east to west in all the deserts on the planet. We are going to make it a microcosm space that brings all these immense and diverse deserts to Apple Park. “
It will not be an easy task to get sand from all the deserts in the world, melt it in glass and assemble it in Cupertino.
Paterson – renowned for works as vast as Hollow at Royal Fort Gardens in Bristol, UK – said a project of this scale has never been done before and will require global cooperation for the achieve.
Making glass from desert sand is something Paterson had thought about doing before, but after teaming up with Zeller & Moye, the sculpture “really came to life,” she said. The two teams previously worked together in 2016 on Hollow, a canopy-like structure made from the trees of the world.
The architectural firm’s plans call for three line segments made up of glass columns connecting in a central space, giving the space three “main entrances,” Moye said. The free-form nature of the sculpture will create small niches and pockets where people can experience a moment of calm while being enveloped by the structure, Moye said.
“We are working with these materials experimentally, but focusing on one material at the heart of the work: desert sand,” Moye said. “It has that handcrafted quality because of its cast glass, so it will show a lot of variation, shapes and discolorations.”
Although the firm has a background in architecture, Christoph Zeller said “we work on the fringes of the discipline”. Apple has historically partnered with the world’s leading designers, architects and artists to manufacture its products and build its Silicon Valley campuses.
No project has matched the tech company’s $ 5 billion neo-futuristic campus dubbed “the spaceship,” which was designed by Norman Foster and opened to more than 12,000 employees in April 2017 About 80% of the site is made up of green spaces. planted with drought-tolerant trees and plants native to the Cupertino region; the central courtyard of the main building has an artificial pond.
With “Mirage”, the tech giant hopes to bring another favorite space to Silicon Valley.
“It’s a very different way of using glass,” said Christoph Zeller. “We have glass everywhere in our daily life, but we often experience sheets of glass, glasses of water or glass vases. With this project, we move away from the commercial aspects of glass and refer to the strength of glass.
Moye said the pandemic has made people feel lonely and out of touch with the world and nature.
“It’s important to regain those connections with the physical,” Moye said.