Ardmore Substation. Commissioned by Puget Sound Energy. Redmond, WA
A visual evocation of the kelvin scale through a dynamic LED display. 2014
The artwork consists of a 70’ transmission pole with 13 stainless steel bands, each with a ring of LED lighting. The pole plays both a metaphorical and literal role. During the day, the stainless bands, which are spaced incrementally wider as the pole rises, seamlessly reinforce the industrial character of the site while celebrating the elegant delivery of electricity. At night, the LED rings dynamically illustrate the sequence of the Kelvin scale that expresses the color temperature of light, with red at the bottom, moving through orange, yellow, warm and cool white to blue at the top.
Commissioning an artist was a new experience for PSE. They were receptive to an innovative approach and wanted the work to respond to the substation’s mission of the delivering energy, reliably and elegantly. Ellen drew from the industrial elements of the site and the electrical system for design inspiration. During the day, the blue pole with the stainless steel bands reads like a high tech piece of equipment with the bands, spaced incrementally wider, suggesting movement. At night, the LED “neon” bands are variably programmed. Passersby are likely to see it appear differently whenever they encounter it.